Noor Dubai treats thousands for blindness in Niger
Noor Dubai, the UAE-based charity initiative focused on preventing and treating low vision and curable forms of blindness, today announced that it had successfully organized a cataract camp in one the world’s poorest and most remote areas. Noor Dubai is the first humanitarian initiative to provide large-scale cataract treatment in Maradi, the third largest city in the West African country of Niger.
His Excellency Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, CEO of Noor Dubai and Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “Noor Dubai cataract camp, which is organized in collaboration with Al Basar International Organization in Maradi, attracted thousands of patients who received medication, surgery and eyeglasses. The initiative has helped many critical cases and returned the gift of sight to people who had resigned themselves to a life of blindness.”
HE Mr. Al Murooshid highlighted the case of 7-year-old Khadija, who had lost her eyesight to cataracts two years ago and was completely dependent on her desperately poor family, unable to attend school. The Noor Dubai team performed successful surgery on her left eye. One of five children, Khadija is now looking forward to rejoining her friends in class and one day supporting her family.
Dr. Fatima Moussa, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health in Niger, received the Noor Dubai team, which was headed by Emirati ophthalmologist Dr. Manal Taryam.
Dr. Moussa said: “Niger is deeply touched by the kindness of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and we are honoured to receive the Noor Dubai initiative. Many people, young and old, have had their lives transformed thanks to the exceptional talents of the Noor Dubai team of medical professionals.”
According to the UN, Maradi is one of the poorest and most remote parts of Africa. It lacks basic health care and treatable blindness and eye diseases are common.
Mohammed Fakhruddein, Director of Noor Dubai Medical camp in Maradi, said: “The extreme poverty of the area is made worse by the fact that Maradi is so cut off. We traveled 700km by dirt road to reach Maradi as there is no air transport from the capital Niamey.”
Unreliable transport, severe weather and the logistical problems involved in supplying critical medical equipment to remote areas are just some of the challenges faced by the Noor Dubai doctors. But Noor Dubai is committed to providing needy people with levels of eye care taken for granted in developed countries.
Dr. Manal Taryam said: “Cataract surgery is performed using the latest technology in a process called ‘phacoemulsification’. Doctors replace the damaged lens of the eye with an artificial one, which helps the patient focus and obtain clear vision after surgery.”
To date, Noor Dubai has restored the vision of more than 100,000 people in Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Chad, Niger and Dubai. The initiative has performed cataract surgeries on more than 10,000 individuals, and provided medication and corrective eyewear to more than 90,000 people.
Noor Dubai is funding the foundation’s fight against river blindness and other preventable vision loss in Africa, and has so far healed more than 400,000 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 in September 2008 with the aim of healing more than one million men, women and children around the world in one year.
Noor Dubai is also working with international non-profit development agency ORBIS to provide patients with medical treatment, including cataract and 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 will be trained to provide primary eye care and perform trichiasis surgery.
Noor Dubai is also working with Al Basar International, a Saudi-based NGO focused on blindness prevention. Together, the agencies 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.