Operation Eyesight Universal

Operation Eyesight Universal

October 03, 2011 14:06 ET

Operation Eyesight Universal: African Expert in Sustainable Eye Care in Calgary for World Sight Day

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2011) - Every five seconds, someone in our world goes needlessly blind.

It's an astounding statistic and one that is completely unnecessary: 80 percent of blindness is avoidable. In other words, it is preventable or readily treatable with known and cost-effective methods.

Operation Eyesight Universal is a Calgary-based international non-governmental organization dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness. It will host Dr. Boateng (Bo) Wiafe, its authority in the development of sustainable eye care in Africa, for a series of meetings that will take place around World Sight Day on Oct. 13, 2011.

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. Included on the official World Health Organization calendar, WSD is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. Operation Eyesight is a member of IAPB.


  • Dr. Bo Wiafe; Regional Director for Africa, Operation Eyesight; biography follows
  • Pat Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Operation Eyesight; chair of IAPB's North American region

WHAT: Media availability by appointment

WHERE: In-person for Calgary media, by phone for media outside of Calgary

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6-11 a.m. MST;

Thursday, Oct.6, 6-10 a.m. MST;

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 8-10 a.m. MST

WHY: To speak about eye care and avoidable blindness, the role of Operation Eyesight and how Canadians can help.


  • About 284 million people worldwide are visually impaired: 39 million are blind and 245 million have low vision.
  • Blindness prevention and treatment is the most cost-effective form of medical intervention.
  • 90 percent of blind people live in developing countries.

Biography: Dr. Boateng Wiafe, Regional Director for Africa

Operation Eyesight Universal

Dr. Boateng (Bo) Wiafe has more than 25 years of experience in eye care and is recognized as an authority in the development of sustainable eye care in the African region. Working strategically with the government in Zambia, he engaged them to take a lead role in the development and implementation of quality eye care. Dr. Wiafe set new standards in volume of surgeries, as well as piloting a model trachoma control program in 2001 which reduced the prevalence of trachoma from 50 to five percent. This program is being duplicated in other districts throughout Zambia and other trachoma-threatened areas in Africa.

Dr. Wiafe has contributed several articles to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Community Eye Health Journal and served as a visiting lecturer and external examiner at the Ophthalmic Training Program in Lilongwe, Malawi. In 2009, Dr. Wiafe also contributed a chapter in a Glaucoma Textbook on The Economics of Glaucoma (Glaucoma: Medical Diagnosis & Therapy 2009, Shaarawy et al.). He holds a M.Sc in Community Eye Health from the International Centre for Eye Health, University of London, England, and an M.D. in General Medicine and a Specialist Diploma in Ophthalmology from the Institute of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Lasi, Romania.

Operation Eyesight is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness in the developing world. It works with medical professionals and communities in Africa and India to help provide quality eye care programs and sustainable community development. Since 1963, through the support of its donors, millions of the world's poorest people have had their sight restored or protected. To learn more about Operation Eyesight's work, visit www.operationeyesight.com.

VISION 2020: The Right to Sight is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations. VISION 2020's mission is to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness by the year 2020 by facilitating the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programs based on the three core strategies of disease control, human resource development and infrastructure and technology, incorporating the principles of primary health care.

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