With Turkey's help, the Islamic Development Bank's (IDB) fund to fight avoidable blindness has grown from $30 million to $250 million, the bank's spokesman said Friday.
Abdul-Hakem Elwaer told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Turkey gave major support to the Second Generation of the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness (AFAB-2) fund.
The bank initially created the fund in 2008 for giving 100,000 cataract surgeries in five years, then later 500,000. Under the new AFAB-2, the target is 1.5 million cataract surgeries in five years. The bank also will provide glasses to 10 million children, he said.
He explained: "Turkey maximized its contribution by providing scholarships for doctors, providing operations, and transferring knowledge into eye clinics in sub-Saharan Africa." With Turkey's contribution, the Turkish Red Crescent is also deeply involved in the process, he added.
Eyüp Gümüş, Turkey's Health Ministry undersecretary, told AA that Turkey is creating an automatic system called Health Africa to handle the records of patients in Africa. "We will send coordinators to Africa and we will work together with NGOs, our Health Ministry and ministries of other countries who want to help this project," he said.