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Noor Dubai screens thousands for blindness in and treats hundreds in Sindh province

Monday April 11,2011

Noor Dubai, the UAE-based charity focused on preventing and treating low vision and curable forms of blindness, announced today that it had successfully organized an eye camp in one of the world's areas, mostly affected by natural disasters and poverty. Noor Dubai is the first humanitarian establishment to provide large-scale eye treatment in Sindh following the floods last year.

His Excellency Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, chairman of the board of trustees of Noor Dubai Foundation, said: "The Noor Dubai eye camp, which is organized in collaboration with Al Basar in Sindh is the first of many eye camps that Noor Dubai Foundation plans to conduct in 2011. We are delighted with the results. The Noor Dubai Foundation camp witnessed overwhelming response from patients of all ages. The program has helped many critical cases and returned the gift of sight to people who have lost the hope in treatment due to poverty."

"In this particular Camp, over 9,000 individuals were screened against causes of eye diseases, and 600 eye surgeries were performed since the camp started 5 days ago. Physicians in the camp also distributed medications to treat chronic conditions such as Glaucoma and eye infections. Reading glasses and visual aids were also distributed during the screening and follow-up phase."

"The medical team was also committed to screening for systemic illnesses such as Diabetes Mellitus and high blood pressure. Overall, Noor Dubai and its partners provided a comprehensive healthcare service to an area of need, that was devastated by natural disasters, poverty and lack of basic healthcare infrastructure", added Al Murooshid.

Dr. Manal Taryam, CEO of Noor Dubai, said: "The extreme poverty in the area is made worse by the fact that the town of Shahdadkot of the Sindh Province, was the one area most affected by the floods in Pakistan. This town is located 342km away from Karachi. The medical team traveled by road to reach Shahdadkot from Mohenjo-Daro as there is no air transport."

The team was faced with many challenges including unreliable transportation, safety, and unpredictable weather as well as logistic challenges such as the transportation of critical medical and surgical equipment to remote areas. But we are all committed to providing needy people with levels of eye care taken for granted in developed countries.

Dr. Manal Taryam added: "According to the statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), Cataract is the major cause of treatable blindness. Doctors at the camp use the latest techniques in Phaco-emulsification to treat Cataract. Doctors replace the damaged lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens, which helps the patient focus and obtain clear vision after surgery."

"The cost of having a Cataract surgery in Dubai ranges between 500 USD to 1000 USD, but in the eye camp the cost goes down to 8 USD only, thanks to our partners, and supporters. Some of the cases treated in the camp were of those affected by Diabetic Retinopathy"

To date, Noor Dubai has restored the vision of more than 5.8 million people in Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Chad, Niger, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Mali, Uganda, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This Non-Governmental, non-for-profit organization has performed cataract surgeries for more than 10,000 individuals, and provided medication and corrective eyewear to more than 90,000 people through the eye camps.

Noor Dubai has funded, in 2008 and 2009 the fight against river blindness and other causes of preventable vision loss in Africa, and has so far reached out to more than 5 million individuals in Ethiopia, Mali, Cameroon and Uganda.

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, founded Noor Dubai the initiative in September 2008 with the aim of healing more than one million men, women and children around the world in one year. In October 2010, His Highness issued a decree to establish the Noor Dubai Foundation turning the initiative into an independent foundation to continue the noble cause and the fight against avoidable and treatable forms of blindness.

Noor Dubai and partners have also worked in 2009 to provide patients with medical treatment, including trachoma surgeries, spectacles and training for primary health care workers, teachers and volunteer leaders from women's groups. Additionally, nurses from district-level health centers have been trained to provide primary eye care.

Noor Dubai has worked with Al Basar International, a Saudi-based NGO focused on blindness prevention. Together, they have led a series of highly successful free cataract camps focused on screening, diagnostics and corrective treatment across South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.