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EDITORIAL
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 37-38

Current role of international non-governmental organizations in prevention of blindness in Sudan


National Coordinator for Prevention of Blindness, Sudan

Date of Web Publication10-Jan-2014

Correspondence Address:
Kamal Hashim Binnawi
National Coordinator for Prevention of Blindness
Sudan
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DOI: 10.4103/1858-540X.124816

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How to cite this article:
Binnawi KH. Current role of international non-governmental organizations in prevention of blindness in Sudan. Sudanese J Ophthalmol 2013;5:37-8

How to cite this URL:
Binnawi KH. Current role of international non-governmental organizations in prevention of blindness in Sudan. Sudanese J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2019 Sep 20];5:37-8. Available from: http://www.sjopthal.net/text.asp?2013/5/2/37/124816

Governments, especially in the developing countries, are unable to meet local community needs alone. State should recognize and acknowledge the invaluable role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). [1] This recognition and formal acknowledgment is ideally translated into a partnership under an umbrella of inclusive legal framework. Partnership arranges, acknowledges, reinforces, and organizes the distinct but complimentary roles of the government and NGOs.

Effective partnership between the government and NGOs is needed to avoid uncoordinated service delivery that leads to waste of resources and unsatisfactory response to community needs. Lack of mutual respect between the government and NGOs and misunderstanding often end up with a chaotic situation and fragmented, scattered, hit-and-run responses, which are more harmful than doing nothing!

The Government of Sudan (GoS) has a long history of partnership with NGOs (national and international). [2] Pertinent laws and policies available are continually being revised and updated in consultation with NGO community. Currently, there are over 1000 registered NGOs.

NGOs specialized in eye care and/or prevention of blindness are relatively few. The main international NGOs (INGOs) currently active are: The Carter Center, Albasar International Foundation, Sightsavers, Helpage, International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), Mectizan Donation Program (MDP), Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA), and IHH (a Turkish NGO).

Partnership with INGOs in blindness prevention has shown excellent outcome, for example, The Carter Center assists in a very successful community-directed treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI) projects in three regions in Sudan. CDTI recently led to interruption of transmission of onchocerciasis in Abuhamad [3],[4] and is showing promising indicators in other regions. Also, a successful trachoma control program is going on with The Carter Center and Sightsavers. Comprehensive eye care in North Kordofan is another remarkable project by Sightsavers. Albasar International Foundation is contributing enormously to eye care and prevention of blindness in Sudan. Through eight well-equipped and staffed hospitals, affordable eye care services are provided. Annually, Albasar conducts more than 30 free mobile cataract campaigns reaching underserved areas. Albasar also contributes generously to human resource development at different levels. Helpage is regularly conducting free eye surgery camps in remote areas in Darfur and Kordofan. The Turkish IHH contributed by performing 40,000 free phacoemulsification surgeries and training of 40 young Sudanese ophthalmologists.

INGOs' partnership with GoS is successful because it is flexible, evolving, respecting the values of local communities, and avoiding creation of parallel systems. Relations are based on a legal policy background that governs the activities of NGOs. The partnership is also very well coordinated and transparent with smooth and open channels of communications. It builds and fosters local capacity and ensures relevance and appropriateness of services with sharing of knowledge and skills.

Nevertheless, some difficulties are facing GoS - INGOs partnership, including the following: Local communities are suspicious toward some INGOs, which is observed more with relief and politically motivated INGOs. High overhead expenditure decreases the relative expenditure on targeted beneficiaries. Donor fatigue and donor preference may negatively affect continuity and relevance. Security issues in areas affected by tribal conflicts are the risk factors for some projects. Political and economic sanctions lead to restrictions on transfer of funds to Sudan. Restricted internal movement for expatriates and the need for travel permit discourage visits by experts and hinder monitoring and evaluation activities.

 
  References Top

1.Watkins SC, Swidler A, Hannan T. 2012. Outsourcing social transformation: Development NGOs as Organizations. Ann Rev Sociol 2012;38:285-315.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Mahmood OO, Ibrahim AI. The role of NGOs and the international community in disaster management in the Sudan. Khartoum, Sudan: Khartoum University Press; 1990. p.3-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Higazi TB, Zarroug IM, Mohamed HA, Elmubark WA, Deran TC, Aziz N, et al. Interruption of Onchocerca volvulus transmission in the Abu Hamed focus, Sudan. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2013;89:51-7.   Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Binnawi KH. Historic victory against onchocerciasis in Sudan. Sudanese J Ophthalmol 2013;5:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
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