On April 7, we will mark World Health Day, a World Health Organization (WHO) advocacy day that each year draws attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. This year, the theme is “Universal Health Coverage”. Health is a human right and everyone should have access to the right care at the right time and at the right place within their community.
At OPC, we live this theme every day as we strive to provide comprehensive eye health care services to all, especially to people living in vulnerable communities in Francophone Africa that are often overlooked for access to quality care. For over 40 years, OPC ensures the human right to sight.
Ensuring the Human Right to Sight
We work with local, national, and international partners to provide comprehensive eye exams and eye health care services, strengthening the existing health systems in the countries where we work. Our reach extends beyond urban centers to often hard-to-reach rural communities.
We train eye health professionals, like ophthalmologists, nurses, and community health workers. We also raise awareness about preventing eye diseases through advocacy and education activities, like promoting the SAFE strategy for trachoma elimination.
Acil lived with trachoma for years. Everyone in his family had contracted it and they thought it was a family curse. They thought that they would eventually become blind, like their relatives did. They did not know what trachoma was. Acil and his family are farmers who live in a remote village in Chad, far from any health center. The vision impairment caused by the disease affected their ability to work, not to mention the extreme discomfort and irritation they felt in their eyes and the anxiety of impending blindness.
Thanks to OPC’s intervention, a medical team came to Acil’s village with antibiotics and performed surgeries to correct the most advanced trachoma cases. The team also shared with the community important information about what trachoma is, how it spreads and how it can be avoided.
Acil said, “Now, I know that trachoma is a curable disease and I want to thank the team that gave us a new chance in life by enabling our family to get back to our crops.”
Mark World Health Day with OPC
As we mark World Health Day and draw attention to the “Universal Health Coverage” theme, consider making a donation to support OPC’s work.
With your support, we can help even more people, like Acil and his family, get access to the eye health care services they need when they need them. We can prevent cases of blindness that could have been avoided by strengthening health care systems, making quality eye care more available and increasing access to everyone in the community so no one is left behind.
Protecting people’s sight is essential, not only because eye care is a human right, but also because there is a direct link between vision loss and poverty. People who lose their vision and do not receive care are unable to work as much as they could.
Ensuring the human right to sight is even more urgent today. According to the World Bank, around 120 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing world poverty for the first time in a generation.
The international community is currently off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal #3 of Universal Health Coverage by 2030, and at high risk for several others including Sustainable Development Goal #1 regarding poverty. With your help, we can create change.