06/16/2009 10:44 PM | By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter
Dubai: Noor Dubai, which recently became a full-fledged non-governmental organisation (NGO), is offering people the opportunity to join in and help transform the lives of those afflicted by eye-related diseases.
Noor Dubai is spreading its outreach to more countries with its primary goal of "treatment, prevention and education," Qadi Saeed Al Murooshid, director-general of the Dubai Health Authority, said on Tuesday.
The intiative launched by the Dubai Government has exceeded its target and has presently restored the sight of many afflicted people in countless cases.
It has also treated 2.76 million children and adults, he said. Noor Dubai will soon set up an account number where the public can send contributions.
Restoring the sight of people with eye-related diseases has also helped the economies of the countries they come from, Al Murooshid said. He gave an example of a certain man and breadwinner whose eyesight was restored.
"He had lost the ability to look after the family," Al Murooshid said.
In an African country, a boy had lost his sight and one of his brothers had to look after him full-time.
"These boys can now study and become bread-winners later," the Noor Dubai chief said.
"That's from the econ-omic perspective of our outreach."
According to Dr Manal Taryam, Noor Dubai's medical director, the NGO is currently working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to identity countries where it can be helpful. Noor Dubai's strategy in its new transformation will be announced soon, she said. A new chief executive will also be appointed.
Over 18 million people are infected by river blindness in Africa.
The parasitic disease is transmitted from person to person through the mosquito bite. It is currently the second major cause of blindness in the world.
Noor Dubai was able to bring the disease under control in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mali and Cameroon.
Noor Dubai has set up 10 eye camps in various countries, including Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.