Project Starting date :1st January 2021
Project Ending date :31st December 2023
Investments in health systems needed to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing countries are not only cost effective but can generate a substantial economic return.There is also considerable evidence that people with disabilities and their households are more likely to be below a defined poverty line and to have lower income levels[i]. Investing in people with disabilities in the same way as in the rest of the population, through inclusive access to basic services will contribute to poverty reduction and enable people to become key agents of change within their own development. Low-income countries’ labour markets cannot afford to simply ignore the talent and potential of 15% of the population.
Visual impairment itself is a significant driver of poverty. Research among people visually impaired from cataract found that they were consistently poorer than control subjects, whether measured in terms of assets, household expenditure, subjective quality of life or household position in the community[i]. Over the duration of the project period, the district-level cataract surgical rate (an internationally recognised proxy indicator of access to cataract services in a country, measured as the number of cataract operations per million population per year) will increase from 1,600 to 1,900 in Bangladesh. Surgery for cataract is highly cost effective with research demonstrating that after surgery a person will return to the same quality of life and household expenditure as their peers within a year. In Bangladesh after a maximum of one year, per-capita expenditure of households with people who had undergone cataract surgery had increased to the same level as those without cataract and, after a maximum of six years, assets were also on a par.[ii] A Sightsavers supported assessment of the child cataract campaign in Bangladesh stated “contribution to the national economy far outstripped the cost in none of the models did the cost per Disability Adjusted Life Year saved exceed 1,000Tk (under GBP10)”.