Noor restores vision to 11,000 Yemenis
Dubai, February 5, 2009
Noor Dubai, the UAE-born charity initiative focused on preventing and treating low vision and curable forms of blindness around the world, has helped heal more than 11,000 Yemenis of all ages this week at its free cataract treatment camp in the western port city of Hodeida.
Noor Dubai, launched by UAE vice-president and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in September 2008, has reached 51,800 patients in its five months of operations via free treatment camps in Dubai, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Yemen.
The initiative set a target of treating more than one million patients in its first year, said an official spokesman.
CEO of Noor Dubai and director general of the Dubai Health Authority Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid said the 10-day Hodeida camp drew more than 11,000 patients from the city’s surrounding areas for screenings and evaluation by Noor Dubai’s surgical and nursing staff.
Of those, more than 9,000 men, women and children were treated with medication and prescription eyeglasses funded by the initiative; an additional 1,600 were identified for surgery, with priority given to those with cataracts in both eyes and those with advanced stages of the disease.
“The Noor Dubai surgical team worked two six-hour shifts every day at the Salakhana Hospital in Hodeida, completing an average of 130 successful surgeries daily,” said Al Murooshid. “Every one of these surgeries represents an improved life, and we are privileged to be able to offer this treatment to our brothers and sisters in Yemen.”
The oldest patient treated at the camp was a 98-year-old man with mature cataracts, whose vision had been reduced to light perception only; the youngest was a 14-year-old boy with congenital cataracts and severe vision deterioration. Both patients were treated successfully.
The Hodeida camp, based in the city’s Salakhana Hospital, was operated in partnership with the Al Basar International Foundation, a Saudi Arabia-based NGO that specializes in blindness treatment and prevention.
The Yemen camp is the latest of the Noor Dubai cataract camps to be held in developing countries. Successful camps have also been held in Sudan, drawing 14,000 individuals; Pakistan, with 12,000 patients; and Sri Lanka, drawing 14,000 patients. Eye camps will also be held in Bangladesh, Chad, Niger and Nigeria in coming weeks. A second Sudan camp is also currently underway.
Closer to home, Noor Dubai has also given the gift of full vision to more than 800 patients from Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Jordan, Mali, Egypt and Syria and across the GCC, flying individuals from their home countries into Dubai for treatment at Dubai Hospital and other city facilities.
The initiative is also working towards establishing an eye camp in Gaza to treat children and adults with preventable blindness and visual impairment, and those whose vision was affected during the recent conflict.
Noor Dubai will soon sign agreements with international specialist agencies including Lions Club International, the world’s largest volunteer service organization, and regional healthcare providers.
In coming weeks, the initiative will also move more into its second and third phases, focusing on prevention, education and awareness. – TradeArabia News Service