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Cuban/Venezuelan Eyesight Care Programme

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 8 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the extension to Africa and the poorest people of North America of the Cuban/Venezuelan ‘Operation Miracle’ eyesight care programme. (73518)

DFID has not been involved with the ‘Operation Miracle’ Eyesight care programme in Latin America and the Caribbean, and has therefore not assessed its extension to Africa. We do not have any programmes in North America and have therefore made no assessment of its extension to the poorest people of North America.

However, DFID supports a number of programmes which address preventable causes of serious eye disease and blindness. For example, DFID provided £5.6 million through the World Bank for the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) between 2001-02 and 2006-07. DFID also contributed £12.5 million to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005 towards its Global Elimination of Blinding Trachoma Programme. We also support civil society organisations such as Vision 2020 through our contribution to the WHO, and acknowledge the role of NGOs in the provision of preventive, treatment and support services for people with visual impairment.