President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Declares October 15 ‘World Sight & White Cane Safety Day’
MONROVIA, October 13 (LINA) – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by Proclamation declared Saturday, October 15, as “World Sight and White Cane Safety Day,” *to be observed throughout the Republic as a Working Holiday.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, 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 groups, 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 Day focusing awareness on the recognition that eye health and visual impairment are of public health concern.
The Proclamation further indicates that since the invention of the White Cane, it has been a significant symbol of courage in blindness.
It also serves as traffic sign and courtesy request from 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 to recognize and respect the fundamental human rights of its citizens, including the blind.
About 285 million people worldwide have low vision and blindness and of this number, 39 million children are blind, 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment while 19 million children are visually impaired as 82 percent of the people live with blindness at the age of 50 or above in low-income countries across the world, the release added.