Robert F Walters at ESCRS 2019 on how goverments can help with avoidable blindness

I think there are many ways of looking
at that. I think the first point is that in developed countries those governments
can be the seed corn for both expertise and money in order to put those into
underdeveloped countries, where the most need is and therefore organizations such
as Department for International Development USAID who will specifically
be giving very large amounts of money I mean DFID for example is just
set aside 50 million pounds for a treatment of neglected tropical diseases
which would include eye diseases. So that’s a very real way that I think
developed countries can do it. I think as far as governments in the
countries where we work, the countries that are generally very poor, then I
think that there’s a great deal they can do but one has to understand that many
of these countries are extremely poor and their GDP is very low so that they
they do require a lot of help so that they could certainly help and I think
they can help their own population but I think an organization like Orbis needs
to approach governments in a sympathetic and understanding and culturally
sensitive way to say well we recognize that you have a need there you recognize
as a need and how can we help you to help your own people. We would never
want to go in and say we know all the answers because we don’t
but they know many of the answers and we know others and between us I think
working and in partnership with governments is a great
little you can do. Governments have they have set budgets all countries have set
budgets and one of our jobs in terms of advocacy is to advocate for our own
cause the ones we believe in have knowledge of that and to try to say to
those governments well if you spent a little bit of money and more money in
this way of your budget then you could have a greater impact or maybe if you
had a different model in that respect maybe we could help you in that or
different form of surgery using paramedics in a different way, extending
your medical abilities amongst people who previously were not necessarily put
in medically trained they don’t need to be you can do it in different ways
indeed that’s a worldwide phenomenon now so I think it’s a two-way street but
principally we work with governments hand-in-glove if we possibly can and we
would have to do that but it is extremely productive way of working

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