The government on Saturday issued a set of guidelines for combating retinopathy of prematurity, also known as ROP which is the leading cause of childhood blindness in Bangladesh.
Directorate General of Health Services Director-General Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam unveiled the guidelines titled "National Guidelines for Screening and Management of ROP" at a capital hotel on Saturday, said a press release.
Directorate General of Medical Education Director-General AHM Enayet Hussain, Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council President Mohammod Shahidullah, and representatives from other agencies concerned were present at the event, it reads.
Addressing the programme, speakers expressed optimism that prevention of ROP-related blindness would be possible if the guidelines, which provide medical professionals concerned with a framework for developing eye-care services, are followed with a multisectoral approach.
"Though the actual prevalence of ROP in Bangladesh is unknown, the rate of ROP has been found to affect as many as 40% of the preterm infants," the guidelines noted.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye disorder caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the light-sensitive part of the eyes (retina) of premature infants. ROP generally affects infants born before week 31 of pregnancy and weighing 2.75 pounds (about 1,250 grams) or less at birth.
It further added that around 169,640 babies are affected by ROP every year as approximately 14.5% or 424,100 babies are born prematurely in the country out of the 3.75 million births annually.
The National Newborn Health Program (NNHP) and Integrated Management of Childhood Illness of the health directorate have prepared the guidelines, in collaboration with stakeholders – the Ophthalmological Society of Bangladesh, Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Neonatal Forum, Orbis International, IRD Global, WHO, UNICEF, Save the Children, reads the release.