Investing in Vision
February 2013: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has released the fourth, and final, report in the series commissioned by The Fred Hollows Foundation to calculate the costs and benefits of achieving the VISION 2020 goal of eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020.
Drawing on previous work that estimated the global cost of eliminating avoidable blindness (The Price of Sight), as well as the global economic benefits (The Value of Sight), the Investing in Vision report provides compelling evidence of the cost-effectiveness of additional investments designed to strengthen eye health systems in developing countries.
> Download Summary: Investing in Vision Report
> Download The Price of Sight Report
> Download Benefits Framework
> Download Value of Sight Report
Report: Key findings
- Avoidable blindness occurs all over the world, but by far the greatest burden is carried by developing countries.
- In developing countries, an additional investment of only US$2.20 per capita per year for 10 years is required to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
- In developing countries, the economic benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment outweigh the costs by a factor of 4 to 1.
- That means that for every dollar invested in preventing someone from going blind, we generate more than four dollars in economic benefits.
- This large net benefit places eliminating avoidable blindness among the likes of primary school education and infrastructure projects in terms of its broader economic value.
Investing in Vision
Comparing the costs and benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment
The report suggests that overall the net benefit of eliminating avoidable blindness, at the global level, almost entirely reflects developing countries where prevalence is greatest. While it would take only an additional US$2.20 per capita each year for ten years to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing countries, the economic benefits of such spending outweigh these costs by a factor of 4 to 1.
Importantly, these are conservative estimates of the net benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment. While the monetary costs can be reliably estimated, there are many benefits to which a dollar value could not be assigned due to the lack of available data. The result is that the overall net benefit of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment is undoubtedly higher than quantified in these reports.
These four reports form a pioneering piece of work. Using the most recent data available, they bring together, for the first time, the health, economic and social benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and vision impairment on a global scale. The reports highlight the fact that investments are both cost-effective and sustainable; providing further evidence that eliminating avoidable blindness is among the genuinely unpicked low-lying fruit of development policy. The methodologies used have been reviewed by clinical and academic experts in order to validate the approach and assumptions, and find solutions to meet the gaps in informational and data across the sector.
Other reports in the series are detailed below.
The Price of Sight
The Foundation, in conjunction with five other leading Eye Care NGOs, commissioned PwC and Three Rivers Consulting to conduct an initial analysis to estimate the global cost of eliminating avoidable blindness. This included the costs of building ongoing primary and secondary health care systems, as well as the investment required to eliminate the ‘backlog’ of avoidable blindness. Global data was collected to compile separate costing frameworks for the primary and secondary care sectors, and the treatment of the ‘backlog’. The report provides the most comprehensive view available of the costs of eliminating the global incidence of avoidable blindness.
Benefits Framework and The Value of Sight
Following the cost report, PwC was subsequently commissioned to develop a framework that could be used to estimate the monetary value of the benefits that would potentially arise from eliminating avoidable blindness and vision impairment. The resultant Benefits Framework takes a broad view of the benefits, incorporating the economic, health and social benefits that would accrue to individuals, their carers and to economies across the world. It therefore takes a much broader perspective than typical cost-effectiveness studies, which are usually much more narrowly focused on specific ailments and regions.
This Benefits Framework was followed up with The Value of Sight; a report that calculates the monetary benefits of achieving the VISION 2020 goals. So as to ensure that the results are not overly assumption-driven, the report is limited to identifying and discussing those additional benefits to which a dollar value could not be reliably assigned using the information available. These additional benefits include increased primary education, reduced extreme poverty, increased independence, self esteem and improved social networks and increased gender equality.
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