§ Lord Merrivale
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What financial assistance and what remedies they are currently providing both bilaterally and through international agencies to combat childhood blindness in Africa.
The Earl of Caithness
ODA has committed over £660,000 for two Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind projects in Malawi and Uganda for training ophthalmic assistants in the detection and treatment of eye diseases. Since 1974 ODA has also supported the World Health Organisation's onchocerciasis control programme which has significantly reduced the incidence of river blindness in children (and adults) in West Africa and established areas now completely free of the disease. Our contribution in 1990 will be £900,000. WHO is also assisting African governments to establish national blindness prevention programmes (which the United Kingdom is supporting through its contribution to WHO's regular budget).
ODA's considerable support for the development of primary health care in Africa (through bilateral, multilateral and NGO programmes) also helps combat childhood blindness by improving access to 1610WA health facilities, health education, training of health personnel and the prevention of diseases which affect the eyes.