India is the second-most populated country on planet Earth, housing well over one billion people. Even though its population is substantial – one might think so many people could join forces and create big businesses or great organizations – India is also one of the poorest nations in today’s world.
With little money comes reduced access to proper healthcare. Many people in India quite literally never visit a doctor, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or any other healthcare professional. As such, many Indian natives suffer from preventable health issues that simple education or social services could have easily, readily, predictably prevented. One of the most common major health issues that Indians suffer from is blindness.
More than one percent of the native population of India suffers from a visual impairment, many of which are completely blind. Experts believe that more than 70 percent of all blind people could have prevented damage to their eyes; this statistic is believed to be even higher for the blind or legally-blind population of India.
Poor people without healthcare aren’t on their own, however
Organizations funded by more well-off countries are often deployed to people in need throughout the world’s poorest places. Sightsavers is one of these organizations.
Founded in 1950 by a blind man himself, the British Empire Society for the Blind was created in the United Kingdom. Since then, it has branched off into tens of countries and created permanent offices in India, Italy, Norway, and several countries throughout southern and central Africa.
More than 300 million people have been protected against river blindness – its scientific name is called onchocerciasis – since Sightsavers‘ inception nearly. 70 years ago. The condition is initialized by a parasite that lives on the black fly. In many cases, severe infestations of bites result in the transmission of the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus into the bloodstream, eventually causing blindness.
Fortunately for the people of Africa who are ravaged by this disease, Sightsavers regularly educates people who are susceptible to coming down with river blindness about preventative measures and provides communities with ample medication to treat infestations.