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State of health: 39 million people are blind globally, says United Nations

A blind child being helped to use a braille in Uganda. (ZERO PROJECT PHOTO)

As the international community marks the first-ever official World Braille Day on January 4, the United Nations (UN) has estimated that about 39 million people are blind globally, while another 1.3 billion people live with some form of near vision impairment.

This Day reports that the UN, said: “Around the world, 39 million people are blind, and another 253 million have some sort of vision impairment.”

The UN statement continued: “For them, Braille provides a tactical representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols so blind and partially-sighted people are able to read the same books and periodicals printed as are available in standard text form.’’

January 4 was proclaimed by the General Assembly in November last year, as a means of realising fully the human rights of visually-impaired and partially-sighted people.

It is also a means of bringing written language to the forefront as a critical prerequisite for promoting fundamental freedoms.

Situation in Uganda

According to the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda, the number of blind people in the country has shot up to one million from 700,000 people in 2008; with Rwenzori region having the highest number of blind persons. Cataracts are said to be the leading cause of blindness in this East African country.

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