Home Editorial Our Plea Towards Ameliorating The Vision Loss Crisis In Liberia

Our Plea Towards Ameliorating The Vision Loss Crisis In Liberia

by News Manager

Recently, officials of the Ministry of Health revealed that an estimated 480,000 persons are suffering from vision loss in the Liberian Nation.

The health officials, referencing several dossiers including latest data contained in the National Eye Health Policy Liberia 2022-2023 formally acknowledged that blindness is leading among old folks in the country.

The Liberian healthcare officials further quoted the 2012 “Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness” (RAAB) Report, which also established that the prevalence of blindness in the country was associated with increasing age, ranging from 0.7% in those, aged 50-54 years, to 11.7% in those aged, 80 years and above.

They added that cataracts accounted for 60.4% of blindness while Posterior segment pathologies accounted for 27.8% of blindness.

Moreover, the report pointed out that over half (16%) of the posterior segment blindness in the country was due to glaucoma.

These startling revelations were made when the Liberian government, on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, launched its First National Eye Health Policy in eight years, aimed at tackling “avoidable blindness and vision impairment.”

This latest policy comes at a time when eye health services, and generally, the Nation’s healthcare system have been severely impacted by many factors including years of civil war, political turmoil, just to mention a few.

That Liberia, as a country, has had no formal government-level direction for eye healthcare since 2015, when the last Eye Health Policy expired, is to say the least unimageable, discouraging, and disheartening.

Nevertheless, we, at The INDEPENDENT newspaper, are a bit stimulated that efforts are being made by the Ministry of Health and its international partners to provide much-needed eyecare services.

Frankly, the confirmed report from the Nation’s healthcare sector that more than 480,000 persons in Liberia are battling vision loss and other critical eye-related impairments, no doubt, represents a devastating and /or upsetting news for the entire country and its estimated five million plus people.

This is why we are further encouraged by the launch of the new National Eye Health Policy, developed by the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Health, with support from the international development organizations including Sightsavers and Irish Aid.

However, the launch of said policy by the Ministry of Health should not be a mere publicity design aimed, primarily at justifying the use of any donor funding while the severe eyesight challenges that hundreds of thousands of Liberians, particularly the “have-nots” are going through remain practically unattended to by the relevant authorities.

In other words, this latest document should be effectively used as a working tool for the improvement of much-needed eyecare services across the country and it should not be like other expert materials that are placed on the shelfs of other public institutions to experience dust due primarily to the lack of willpower/ or the necessary political will for implementation. Indeed, our people deserve quality healthcare relief.

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