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UK Government’s aid budget cut puts Orbis’ sight-saving work at risk

2021-06-11 16:47:23

Orbis has just received the difficult news that cuts in the UK Government’s aid budget puts our sight-saving work at risk.

Orbis projects are facing an estimated 22% decrease in funding in the current financial year which will have serious consequences for people facing vision loss and visual impairment in some of the world’s poorest countries like Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

The global community has made great progress in tackling avoidable blindness: In 2017, blindness was projected to triple to nearly 115 million people by 2050. Thanks to remarkable efforts and global collaboration the increase has slowed, and it is now projected to reach 60 million by 2050. Now is not the moment to step back from supporting the most vulnerable people, thereby allowing decades of progress to falter.

Since 2008, the UK Government has made a significant commitment to support the complex global effort to control Neglected Tropical Diseases, of which the eye disease trachoma is one. Big strides have been made to eliminate trachoma in Ethiopia, and we’re not prepared to let the withdrawal of our Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office grant midway through the project disturb the momentum that has been generated. So we are exploring how we can fund the remaining two years of the project from alternative sources.

When the UK should be leading the international community ahead of the G7 and COP26 climate summit, cutting support for blindness and vision loss deepens inequality and threatens the livelihoods and education of those who can no longer access treatment.

If you feel strongly that the most vulnerable deserve better, please write to your MP to express your concerns and to state your support for overseas aid. You can also share our posts on Facebook or Twitter and tag your MP.

Source: Orbis UK

Date: 10 May 2021

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