Cricket PNG (CPNG) has joined forces with the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) to drive the message of curing avoidable blindness in the country.
At the launch of this partnership yesterday, CPNG made known that the national teams, the Barramundis and the Lewas, will be at the forefront of this battle against curable blindness and one of their main roles is advocacy.
When a ball is coming at you on the pitch or across the field, no matter how skillful or fit you are, you will have to see it coming in order to react.
Likewise, a good eyesight is very important for everyone in their everyday lives.
Speaking at the launch, PIH Ophthalmologist Doctor Amyna Sultan said, this year’s Rapid Assessment of Blindness Survey revealed that 5.6 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s middle-aged population is blind.
And that is the highest prevalent rate in the region.
• 5.6% adults over age 50 are blind, highest in our region.
• Over 40,000 blind people in PNG
• Refractive error and Cataract are leading cause of blindness
• 61% of those blind are women, F:M 2:1 in remote areas
• Diabetic eye disease is becoming common and can lead to blindness.
• Almost 8% adults over 50 are diabetic in PNG
• Almost 50% of then have some sort of diabetic retinopathy when diagnosed
• Yet 80% of diabetics have never had an eye check.
“We have to make people aware that they can receive early treatment if they do regular check-ups, ’’ added Dr Sultan.
Echoing Dr Sultan’s message, Cricket PNG Chairperson, Helen McIndoe, said the National cricketers will be utilized, in spreading the awareness and education of the importance of eye checkups, and early detection of abnormalities in the eye is always the best way to tackle avoidable blindness.
Macindoe further expressed that Cricket PNG is happy to be part of battle against curable blindness and the National cricket teams will be great ambassadors of this course.
As the first step of their fight against curable blindness, the national cricketers underwent numerous eye checks today.
In the coming months, the cricketers will join PIH and Laila Foundation during their community outreaches as well as promoting the course during their games.