World Sight Day 2020 Message by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is pleased to join with other World Health Organization (WHO) member states in the observance of World Sight Day 2020, under the theme, “Hope in Sight”.

World Sight Day is observed on October 8 every year and is co-ordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). It became an official IAPB worldwide event in the year 2000. It is an international day of awareness, held to focus attention on the global issue of eye health. More than a billion people cannot see well because they do not have access to glasses.

In keeping with global measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the IAPB has encouraged all nations to take adequate precautions and strictly follow Government guidelines when planning media events for World Sight Day.

As such, suggestions were given for online events and to engage media with resources that can be accessed without risking crowding, contact, or any potential to spread COVID-19.    Local activities have therefore been modified in keeping with national guidelines for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Over the past several years, the Department of Ophthalmology at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has been spearheading annual activities in commemoration of World Sight Day under the leadership of Dr. Shailendra Sugrim.

The GPHC will be hosting a Virtual World Sight Day Ophthalmic Session in commemoration of World Sight Day for Eye Care Professionals and Physicians.

This is an educational session entitled, “Saving Vision through Nutrition”, and will encourage physicians and eye care professionals to urge patients to inculcate good nutrition practices.

This will be a virtual zoom e-meeting to be held on the evening of World Sight Day, October 8, from 7:00 to 8:00pm. This lecture will be delivered by Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator, Ms. Djamilsa Lambert, of the GPHC Nutrition Centre.

The GPHC’s Department of Ophthalmology, along with Orbis International and Novartis, has also developed posters focusing on controlling diabetes with good nutrition and also general information about diabetic retinopathy. These vinyl posters will be distributed to Health Centres and public spaces.

This year, with tireless support from Orbis International and Novartis, a new Diabetic Eye Centre was launched at the Enmore Polyclinic in August 2020, where free diabetic eye screening and general eye testing are now available.

GPHC is now working with the Ministry of Health towards setting up another screening centre in Region Six. 

The Ministry will continue to work with a commitment to provide comprehensive eye care services, covering a range of vision impairments, as well as prevention to rehabilitation and care.

I assure all Guyanese that all efforts are being made to improve and develop eye care services across all regions of Guyana and you will be kept informed about our initiatives in the coming weeks and months.

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.