Cambodia Secretary of State H.E. Sea Huong kicked off World Sight Day 2022 celebrations with the theme, “LOVE YOUR EYES”.
During the event at Phnom Penh Hotel, the Royal Government of Cambodia awarded medals of honour to senior health officials and development partners for their outstanding contributions to the country’s eye health sector in the last 30 years.
More than 100 participants joined the celebration, including key representatives from the Ministry of Health, National Programme for Eye Health, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs, Disability Action Council, Australian Embassy, Provincial Health Departments, Hospital staff, and eye health organisations such as SEVA Foundation, Eye Care Foundation, Sight For All, Caritas Takeo eye hospital, BoC, Heart-to-Heart Foundation, and The Fred Hollows Foundation.
World Sight Day is a global day of awareness that aims to bring attention to the importance of eye care. The awareness campaign advocates for eye healthcare that is accessible, inclusive, and affordable to everyone, everywhere.
The main causes of blindness and vision impairment in Cambodia are cataract and uncorrected refractive error. Among adults aged 50 and above, vision impairment due cataract accounts for 80.4 percent the cases and uncorrected refractive error accounts for 61.2 percent Effective eye health progammes are needed to address these problems urgently.
“Eye care providers should provide quality services,” H.E. Huong urged national and subnational eye care providers.
He also appealed to all partners and stakeholders, including teachers, community members, and parents, citing that it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent and control blindness and vision impairment in Cambodia.
“Vision impairment affects people of all ages and blindness can have major and long-lasting effects on all aspects of life”, the Secretary of State said.
The Australian Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Andreas Zurbrugg, was also present at the event.
“In Australia, Fred Hollows is an icon. His work in rural indigenous communities and developing countries around the world to promote eye health and restore eyesight to millions through initiatives including the Fred Hollows Foundation has made him a national treasure. His legacy is still celebrated throughout Australia today. His face was recently on a special edition of the Australian $1 coin, in 2017 a new ferry in Sydney was named Fred Hollows in his honour, ” Mr Zurbrugg said.
Among the NGO partners present at the event is The Fred Hollows Foundation, an international eye health organisation working to end avoidable blindness in more than 25 countries, including Cambodia.
The Foundation’s Cambodia Country Manager Mr Tokyo Bak talked about the importance of implementing the National Strategic Plan for Blindness Prevention and Control (2021-2030) at the provincial level.
“To ensure the success of our eye health programmes, it is important to have provincial eye health roadmaps that are aligned with our national strategic plan – fully resourced from the national budget and supported by development partners,” Mr Tokyo said.
“On behalf of the Cambodian people, we are grateful for the generous support we receive from our local partners and international funders,” Mr Tokyo said.
This year, The Fred Hollows Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary, with a milestone achievement of having restored sight to more than 3 million people worldwide.
Since 1998, The Foundation has been delivering its sight-saving work in Cambodia, in close collaboration with government partners and other development organisations.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press