The United Nations says about 39 million people are blind globally with another 1.3 billion said to be living with some form of near vision impairment.
This is disclosed in a statement to mark the maiden official World Braille Day— aimed to drive home the importance of written language for human rights.
“Around the world, 39 million people are blind, and another 253 million have some sort of vision impairment.”
“For them, Braille provides a tactical representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols so blind and partially-sighted people are able to read the same books and periodicals printed as are available in standard text form,” the statement said.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities cites Braille as a means of communication; and regards it as essential in education, freedom of expression and opinion, access to information and social inclusion for those who use it.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that people who are visually impaired are more likely than those with full sight to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantage which can amount to a lifetime of inequality.
300,000 Ghanaians at risk of going blind
Meanwhile, about 300,000 Ghanaians are currently at risk of going blind, the Director of Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Dr. Samuel Kaba Akoriyea disclosed last year.
Already, about 200,000 individuals have gone totally blind with cataract being the leading cause.