Public Release: 

Champalimaud Vision Award recognizes extraordinary work on blindness prevention

Two awardees for action implemented in low-income countries win €1 million

JLM&A, SA

September 5, 2017- Lisbon, Portugal - The 2017 António Champalimaud Vision Award recognises the work developed by Sightsavers and CBM, two institutions who have long and distinguished histories of organising and supporting blindness prevention, alleviation and rehabilitation programmes in low income countries such as Nepal, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia or Bangladesh.

There are 39 million blind people in the world and 80% of all blindness can be prevented or cured. Sightsavers and CBM have spent decades fighting blindness in dozens of countries across the globe helping millions of people. Both are recognised as original pioneers in the field and were the creators of a model to combat vision disorders based around 3 pillars: prevention, cure and support. They have exported this model to many of the forgotten communities worldwide, and they have worked with local organisations to create effective and sustainable vision programmes.

In addition to their frontline activities in blindness prevention and cure, both Sightsavers and CBM actively seek to empower individuals permanently disabled by blindness. In many countries people suffering from vision disorders and other disabilities are stigmatised and excluded from mainstream society. This can be devastating for individuals, families and communities. CBM and Sightsavers work to change societal attitudes and promote educational and employment opportunities for those living with blindness and severe visual impairment. Their work has helped many with severe disabilities to live productive, independent lives, that enable them to contribute to society on an equal, and dignified basis.

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About Sightsavers: http://www.sightsavers.org, is a UK charity that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people with disabilities.
In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has supported over 576.79 million treatments for blinding and potentially blinding conditions; carried out over 8.14 million operations to restore sight; trained more than 500,000 primary eye care workers; carried out rehabilitation training for 181,000 blind or low vision beneficiaries and supported 38,000 blind or low vision children to gain a school education.

About CBM: http://www.cbm.org/ is a Christian international development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. Based on its core values and over 100 years of professional expertise, CBM addresses poverty both as a cause and as a consequence of disability, and works in partnership with local and national civil society organisations to create an inclusive society for all.

Through a Disability-Inclusive Development approach, CBM address the barriers that hinder access and participation and actively seek to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities as empowered self-advocates in all development and emergency response processes. In 2016, with 373 partners, CBM reached over 28 million people living with or at risk of disabilities in 59 countries.

About the António Champalimaud Vision Award - The António Champalimaud Vision Award was launched in 2006 and is supported by the World Health Organisation's 'Vision 2020 - The Right to Sight' programme. The award, worth 1 million Euros, is the largest in the world in the area of Vision. In odd-numbered years, the Award recognises work developed on the ground by institutions in the prevention of and fight against blindness and vision disorders, mainly in developing countries. In even-numbered years, the Award goes to far-reaching scientific research in the area of vision. In 2007, the Vision Award went to the Aravind Eye Care System in India and in 2008 it was awarded jointly to the laboratories of King-Wai Yau and Jeremy Nathans, of Johns Hopkins University; in the 2009 edition the work of Helen Keller International was recognised, while in 2010 it went to J. Anthony Movshon (University of New York) and William T. Newsome (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Stanford). In 2011 the prize was awarded to APOC (African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control) and in 2012 to two groups of scientists: James Fujimoto, David Huang, Carmen Puliafito, Joel Schuman and Eric Swanson, and David R. Williams. In 2013 four Nepalese organisations won: the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS), Eastern Regional Eye Care Programme (Sagarmatha Choudhary Eye Hospital and Biratnagar Eye Hospital) and the Lumbini Eye Institute. In 2014 the prize went to seven scientists: Napoleone Ferrara, Joan W. Miller, Evangelos S. Gragoudas, Patricia A. D'Amore, Anthony P. Adamis, George L. King and Lloyd Paul Aiello. In 2015 the awardees were three institutions: Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Seva Foundation and Seva Canada and in 2016 three scientists, Christine Holt, Carol Mason, John Flanagan e Carla Shatz.

The Award Jury comprises international scientists and prominent public figures involved in the fight against the problems experienced in developing countries. Members: Alfred Sommer, Paul Sieving, Jacques Delors, Amartya Sen, Carla Shatz, Joshua Sanes, Mark Bear, Gullapalli Rao, José Cunha-Vaz, António Guterres and Susumu Tonegawa.

MEDIA - Maria João Soares mjsoares@jlma.pt / Vítor Cunha vcunha@jlma.pt +351213845720

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