South Africa: Allergan International Foundation (AIF) awards grant to the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB)

August 2014: Allergan is proud to announce that the Allergan International Foundation (AIF) recently awarded a grant of US$20 000 to the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB).

This is the latest in a series of grants allocated to the SANCB, since the initiation of the AIF in 2010. To date, the SANCB has received a social investment totaling R2 million towards its Bureau Cataract Outreach Programme.

With the help of the funding to date, the Council has conducted Outreach Projects in the Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West Provinces, performing 807 sight-saving cataract operations, as well as erecting a 24-bed Eye Care Facility at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital in the North West Province.

This particular facility is the first of its kind in the area, designed to assist in providing routine preventive care for community members; early detection and treatment of eye diseases; and complete medical and surgical care as necessary.

With this latest injection of funds, the SANCB will conduct a three-day Mobile Outreach Project tour at the Jane Furse Hospital in Limpopo at the beginning of August this year. Over the three-day period, the team plans to screen 500 patients, provide refraction treatment for 200 patients and spectacles for 100 patients, as well as operate on 70 cataract patients.

According to international research, 80% of blindness is avoidable either through prevention or through treatment. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, with over 50% of blindness caused by this treatable condition. According to the SANCB, an estimated 350 000 people in South Africa are in need of cataract surgery, and close to 80% of this number live in rural areas. The SANCB’s mobile eye care and outreach programmes aim to reach these people, preventing them from losing their sight and very often their means of earning a living and supporting their families.

The mobile eye care programmes focus on helping South Africans with preventable blindness as well as visually impaired people in poor, rural and remote communities, where there is no readily available access to eye care services.

“This year, the SANCB celebrates 61 successful years of mobile eye care and outreach programmes, and we are incredibly grateful for the funding provided by the Allergan International Foundation, which allows us to continue our mission to empower visually-impaired South Africans to do what they dare to dream,” says Angelina Khupe, SANCB project manager.

Through a network of over 100 member organisations, the SANCB serves, supports and facilitates the prevention of blindness, rehabilitation, community development, training and education of South Africans with visual impairments. The organisation’s vision is to work towards the prevention of blindness and advocate for the inclusion of blind and partially sighted people in all aspects of a diverse South African society.

The Allergan International Foundation is a UK-registered charity initiated by Allergan in 2010 with the aim of contributing towards charitable organisations outside of the US. AIF grants are awarded to charitable organisations with high-quality programmes and services, well-defined goals, a commitment to maximising available resources, and a reputation for meeting objectives and reporting measured results.