President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has by Proclamation declared Saturday, October 15, 2016,as “World Sight and White Cane Safety Day,” tobe observed throughout the Republic as a Working Holiday.
A Foreign Ministry releasesays,this year’s World Sight and White Cane Safety Day’s celebration will take place at the Monrovia Christian University Fellowship Center in Sinkor, under the theme: “Universal Eye Health” or “Eye Health For All”.
The Proclamation calls on the National Commission on Disabilities, Ministries of Justice and Education as well as other relevant agencies of government, local and international NGOs,civil society organizations, partners-in-progress to join the Ministry of Health in organizing appropriate programs befitting the observance of the Day.
The Proclamation is in consonance with Resolution 56.26, adopted by health ministries of the World Health Organization mandating member states to observe World Sight and White Cane Safety Dayfocusing awareness on the recognition that eye health and visual impairment are of public health concern.
The Proclamation further indicates thatsince the invention of theWhite Cane, it has been a significant symbol of courage in blindness. It also serves as traffic sign and courtesyrequestfrom police, motorists and pedestrians to give the right of way to the blind including access to all public transports.
The Proclamation also adds that it is the sole responsibility of the Government of Liberia torecognize and respect the fundamental human rights of its citizens including the blinds.
Approximately, 285 million people worldwide have low vision and blindness and of this number, 39million children are blind, 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment while19 million children are visually impaired as 82 percent of the people live with blindness at the age of 50 orabove in low-income countries across the world, the release added.