NOVEMBER ISSUE 1964
VOICE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind --it is the blind speaking for themselves
N.F.B. Headquarters 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President Russell Kletzing, 2341 Cortez Lane, Sacramento 25, California.
Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.
Acting Editor: Jacobus tenBroek
Assistant Editor: Floyd W. Matson
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, California.
News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.
WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY: A PROCLAMATION
THE NFB: TRAIL-BLAZER IN WELFARE
By Russell Kletzing
GLASSES FOR PAKISTAN: KEEP 'EM COMING
By Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant
By John Nagle
NORMAN HAMER MEMORIAL CONVENTION
NEW BLINDNESS PREVENTATIVE FOUND
BLIND BRITISH SCHOLAR GAINS HIGH POST
JURY DUTY: TO SERVE OR NOT TO SERVE?
THE BRAILLE MONITOR ASKS YOUR SUPPORT
By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
FONDLING PUPPIES HELD DANGEROUS
URGENT THREAT TO BLIND CHIROPRACTORS
ROUND UP OF STATE CONVENTIONS
THE BLIND IN A CHANGING WORLD
By John Wilson
In an historic even which marked the successful climax of years of persistent campaigning by the National Federation of the Blind, President Lyndon B. Johnson last month proclaimed October 15 of each year as National White Cane Safety Day. The Presidential proclamation follows:
THE WHITE HOUSE
WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY 1964
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person's ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration for the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane, and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it, Congress, by a joint resolution approved October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 1964, as White Cane Safety Day.
I urge civic and service organizations, schools, public bodies, and the media of public information to join in this observance with appropriate activities designed to promote continuing awareness of the significance of the white cane to blind persons.
I call upon all our citizens to make every effort to promote the safety and welfare of our blind persons on the streets and highways, and there-by to contribute to their independence of spirit and their capability for self- management.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this sixth day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-ninth.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
By the President: DEAN RUSK Secretary of State
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By Russell Kletzing
In 1964 the Economic Opportunity Act--better known as the anti-poverty bill of the Johnson Administration--became the law of the land. Title VII of this bill provides that the income of persons receiving payments under the Youth and Community Action Programs of the law shall be exempt in the amount of $85 a month, plus 50 percent of income in excess of $85, insofar as all public assistance payments are concerned. Title VII also provides that such exempt income shall not be treated as income to any other person for public assistance purposes. It is noteworthy that the exemption of income in the war-on-poverty law were lifted almost bodily from Titles X and XI of the Social Security Act governing public assistance for the blind.
When in 1948 the NFB first secured the passage by Congress of a provision for $50 a month of exempt earned income, the bill was promptly vetoed by President Truman because of the bitter opposition of the Social Security Administration--which regarded the proposal as wildly radical and threatening to the time-dishonored means test (whose cornerstone is the counting of each penny even unto the third and fourth generations.) But the National Federation, convinced that the principle of exempt income was the only sound way of creating an incentive for recipients of aid to the blind to strive for self-support, again went to the Congress with its proposal in 1950. This time the measure with its $50 exemption was enacted into law.
However, the Social Security administrators held that such income was not exempt insofar as other members of the blind recipient's family were concerned if they also received some type of public assistance. Consequently, it was necessary for the NFB to request Congress in 1952 to enact Title XI of the Social Security Act- providing that where earned income has been disregarded for a blind recipient, such income shall not be taken into consideration in determining the need of any other individual receiving any type of public assistance.
In 1960 the NFB succeeded in persuading Congress to increase the amount of exempt earnings from $50 to $85 a month, plus one-half of all earned income in excess of $85. Thus the principle of a sliding scale of exemption was added as a further incentive, since many blind persons (notably those who are self-employed) do not achieve selfsupport in one big leap but gradually increase their earnings to the point of independence from public assistance.
In 1962 the Federation obtained an amendment requiring the States to exempt additional income and resources (from any source, not just from earnings) for those blind recipients having a plan for self-support, for a period up to 12 months for any given individual. And, finally, in 1964 we have won a further victory with the extension of the 12-month period to 36 months.
Three years ago, in 1962, Congress placed our principle of exempt earned income in Title I of the Social Security Act governing Old Age Assistance, specifying that the first $10 of earned income plus one-half the balance up to $40 must be disregarded for Old Age Assistance grants. And now, in 1964, Title VII of the Economic Opportunity Act cements the principle of exempt income into yet another law of the land.
The Federation's struggle to gain national acceptance of the principle of exempt income as a stimulus toward self-support has been long and hard. In the forefront of opposition have been those public welfare theorists who are wedded to the Elizabethan Poor Law concept of a means test--and who feared (correctly) that their bastion would be breached by the establishment in federal law of the principle of exemption of income and other resources. Today, fortunately, the means test has fallen into disrepute with almost everyone: not only with recipients of public assistance but with social workers, legislators, the press and the general public. Yet we still cling in public welfare to the costly and slow procedures of determining eligibility by means of office interviews, collateral calls, letters and other types of investigation, home visits, and the minute search for income and resources on a case-by-case basis. In fact, most of the time of social workers is taken up with this elaborate and exacting investigation. As a consequence there is little time left to provide needed services. Moreover, the one overwhelming by-product of this 'eligibility mill' is its humiliating impact upon clients of public welfare, no matter how kind and considerate individual workers themselves might be in carrying out the onerous process. Although faults and failures aplenty remain to be corrected, tremendous progress has been made through the efforts of the organized blind in perfecting a more adequate program of aid to the blind. It is the blind themselves who have provided the axes and the determination to blaze new frontiers in public assistance, toward which other groups and agencies are now slowly groping. Let us recall what might be termed the "seven pillars of welfare"--seven key principles which have already begun to be implemented in one or more states and which together add up to the goal of a decent and adequate program of public assistance for the blind of our nation:
1. The concept of a presumed minimum need--translated into practice through a "floor" to relief below which aid (plus non-exempt income) cannot go.
2. The repeal of residence and lien laws and the financial responsibility of relatives.
3. The exemption of decent amounts of property and other resources to provide an initial zone of security, as well as further incentives for those able to work toward self-support.
4. An automatic annual increase in the basic amount of aid to reflect increases in the cost of living, and a mandatory "pass-on" provision whereby, whenever the Federal Government increases its contribution to the States to assist in paying for Aid to the Blind, the amount of such increase is immediately and fully reflected in increased grants to recipients.
5. Prompt processing of applications for aid and equally prompt payment of aid to those determined eligible.
6. Such humane and traditionally American principles as confidentiality of records, the right to a fair hearing, liberal construction of the statutes, the provision that no one shall dictate how a recipient shall spent the money granted him, that no recipient shall be designated a pauper, and that all applicants and recipients have the right to inspect records relative to their cases.
7. The principle of exempt income and resources as incentives toward self-support.
These seven basic principles of Federation philosophy have gone far toward fashioning aid to the blind programs into instruments which not only assure a minimum standard of aid but actively help blind persons to decrease their own dependency--physical, social and economic. Let us continue to point the way, find the paths, and blaze the trails of welfare for all the blind, deprived and disabled of the land.
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By Isabella L. D. Grant
A recent letter from the administrator of the CARE program in Lahore, Pakistan, advises of the arrival of still another consignment of eyeglasses for Pakistan, Some braille equipment has also been included in this consignment. As CARE does not deliver packages to individuals as such but only to groups, programs, schools, and agencies, contact was immediately made with me to direct the glasses and equipment to their destination.
Dr. Ibrahim Khan, past president of the Lahore Lions Club, has been notified regarding the glasses. In an interview. Dr. Khan told me of his plan to set aside one day of the week when be would make his clinic available to any person in the economically low bracket, who needed glasses. The glasses would be measured and placed on file in his clinic and then distributed to needy persons according to their visual acuity needs. The other equipment has been redirected to the personnel in the office of education which I shared while I was in Lahore.
This project, like other projects of helping our overseas friends, is a never ending one. Therein lies its joy and its worthwhileness. The more material that is sent, the more people who can be helped. A lift along the way to those people--blind people in particular--who live in the emergent countries of the world, is for them a step along the pathway to self-education and enriched living. To share our substance with others less well provided for is to us a duty and a privilege.
Letters are arriving in numbers from the Middle East, the Far East, and South Asia, for "things to work with,"--things that we take for granted, braille paper, slates, styluses, braille machines, books, braille watches, school material, and typewriters. In the past three weeks, a secondhand braille writer, braille maps, braille books, braille transcription books, a music book, tracing wheels, pocket slates and regular-sized slates all have been sent on their way to young blind boys and girls and to men and women, who know what they need to get where they want to go along the education highway.
The letters are written by individuals, some of whom I have met in my travels, and by others who have heard of the efforts of the blind themselves through the National Federation of the Blind, THE BLIND AMERICAN, and now the BRAILLE MONITOR, passes from hand to hand. We could easily double the number that should be sent, for waiting for one's neighbor to read each issue is a somewhat slow procedure. But it eventually gets around.
Can you imagine my surprise and amusement when it was pointed out to me by a young BLIND AMERICAN reader in Pakistan, that I had misquoted the average income of a Pakistani blind person and so reported in the B. A. I had said that the average income of a blind person who was lucky enough to get a job even in a workshop was one hundred rupees or twenty dollars per month. He told me: "No, seventy rupees, or fourteen dollars, was nearer the figure!"
So the drive for eyeglasses and all kinds of equipment goes on as never before. A reminder about the packing might be in order. Wrap each pair of glasses in separate paper, in order to avoid any possible corrosion with metal in hot and humid places. Pack the glasses if possible in their own eyeglass cases, likewise using paper. Pack the wrapped glasses firmly in strong cartons, medium size cartons for easy handling. Send the cartons to the following address:
Care of Mack Warehouse, Inc.
Pier 38, Delaware and Queen
At the same time, you should write a covering letter to Mr. Weaver manager of the CARE office at that address. We are responsible for the expenses of the transportation to the warehouse. If the chapter finds difficulty in financing the transportation, a local service club might be approached for their assistance in the project. If you wish to send smaller sets of glasses--that is, less than a carton--do not transmit these to the above address but to the following: Mrs. W. Newton, 17059 Burton, Van Nuys, California.
Should you wish to send recent issues of the BRAILLE MONITOR abroad, I shall be glad to furnish you with the address of an English speaking blind person to whom it may be sent. Save the manila envelopes, and on the right-hand corner write:
"Free--Reading Material for the Blind"
The sender's name should be written on the top left-hand corner of the envelope. Magazines and books sent by postal mail take approximately six weeks to go to India
For further information on these matters, write to: Dr. Isabelle L.D. Grant, 851 West 40th Place, Los Angeles, California 90037.
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By John F. Nagle
On October 13 President Johnson signed H.R. 9393--thereby converting into law the progressive "Hartke-Federation" amendment extending to 36 months the exemption of all income and resources for blind recipients of public assistance working toward self-support under an approved rehabilitation plan.
This latest victory of the National Federation and Senator Vance Hartke came shortly after approval by the House of Representatives of Senate amendments to the bill. But there is still a catch to it: the new extension, from 12 to 36 months, is "permissive" rather than mandatory and may therefore be implemented or rejected by the states as they choose. It is vital that each affiliate of the NFB exert every effort to persuade its state public welfare agency to take advantage of the new provision with its greatly improved incentive to blind aid recipients to make their way to full rehabilitation and independence.
One other significant triumph, again largely the result of persistant Federation campaigning, came on October 6 with the President's proclamation of White Cane Safety Day. As a result of this action, October 15 of each and every year will be proclaimed by future Presidents as a day of national recognition of the colorful symbol of physical independence and mobility on the part of blind Americans. (The text of President Johnson's proclamation is published elsewhere in this issue.)
Despite these successes, the 88th Congress failed to act affirmatively on other issues of crucial importance to the blind. Millions of elderly men and women, retired on Social Security, must continue to plead for a cot in a charity ward when the need for hospital care overtakes them--all because the forces of retreat and reaction under the leadership of the American Medical Association were successful in blocking the passage of the King-Anderson Medicare bill.
Other victims of this unyielding opposition to enlightened social legislation were the "Humphrey Amendment" (the Federation's bill liberalizing the disability insurance law for blind persons, which had passed the Senate); the proposed increase in payments to retired and disabled persons and their dependents; and, finally, the projected increase of federal money in public assistance grants to needy blind, aged, and disabled men and women.
Another important measure which failed during the 1964 Congressional session was H. R. 9904 (the Dent bill), which would establish a minimum wage in sheltered workshops in accordance with national wage standards. But it is noteworthy that hearings were held on the workshop issue by a House committee and that much sympathetic interest in the condition of shop workers was aroused.
On another front, the House-approved bill which would allow a sighted guide to travel by air with a blind person for a single fare was not acted upon by the Senate and died with the adjournment of Congress, The failure of this bill (H. R. 8068) to gain congressional approval is in accord with the views expressed by the NationalFederation in a resolution adopted at last summer's Phoenix convention.
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"The 11th annual convention of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts was not only an interesting and stimulating one--but also a unique example of the old adage 'the show must go on'" writes our Massachusetts correspondent Rosamond Critchley.
Under the chairmanship of Norman F. Hamer, our first vice-president, convention plans were going forward on schedule when we were all shocked by the news of Norman's sudden death in July. His wife, Bernice, immediately took over and under her capable leadership the whole affair was carried to a successful conclusion. It was held at the Holiday Inn in Lawrence on September 26-27.
This year's theme was: "Should the Blind Lead the Blind?" and on Saturday both sides of this provocative question were explored from many angles. Peter J. Salmon of Brooklyn's Industrial Home for the Blind, and William F. Gallagher of the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind were among the speakers, and the day was climaxed by a spirited panel discussion. The panel included John Nagle and Miss Helen Cleary, executive director of the Massachusetts Association for the Adult Blind, with Anita O'Shea, A.B.M. past president and moderator.
Featured speaker at the banquet was Father Carroll of the Catholic Guild for All the Blind. At each plate was found a Braille and a print copy of the revised edition of our pamphlet, "What is the Associated Blind of Massachusetts?" This edition is dedicated to the memory of Norman Hamer, who served on the committee to revise the booklet, and has been produced with a fund given in his memory by A.B.M. members and friends.
This year's winner of the Dr. Jacobus tenBroek award was the Greenfield-Athol Association of the Blind, one of our newest chapters, which has made remarkable strides, in the short time since it was organized, in the field of extending help to the blind in its area. This was not the year for election of officers, but new members-at-large on the executive committee, representing the several chapters, were installed.
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Loss of sight through bloodclots in the eye, until now almost untreatable, can be prevented by a new substance--called urokinase--which is derived from the human body, it was announced in London recently by Dr. Austin Darragh, medical director of the company which manufactures it.
As reported by VIEWPOINT (August 1964), he said that every year eyesight could be saved in about 2,000 cases of secondary hyphaema, a condition brought about by the presence of a blood clot in the eye caused by a bruising blow. About a dozen cases had already been successfully treated in the London area. Urokinase, he said, is an enzyme substance first isolated from human urine by Danish scientists and has the property of dissolving blood clots.
Dr. Darragh showed a film of two operations demonstrating eyes blackened and blinded by blood clotting, changing back to normal, with sight restored in a few minutes. Urokinase was not yet in commercial production in Britain, he said. It was expensive to produce, because of the difficulty of collection and purification of the material, but should become cheaper.
The cost of the amount needed to save an eye was now said to be about $37.80. The substance could also be used for menuitis and was expected to be widely used in the future for the condition known as hydrocephalus. Plasmin produced by urokinase could also reduce the number of child deaths due to hyalina disease, a clot of blood in the lungs. At present 6 out of 10 children born with the disease die, he said.
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Dr. A.R.N. (Rupert) Cross, famed British legal scholar who has been blind from birth, recently gained added distinction by being elected to one of the most honored academic posts in England--the Vinerian Chair of English Law at Oxford University.
His election is a landmark in personal achievement and social recognition. The Vinerian Chair, founded in 1758, was first occupied by Sir William Blackstone, author of the famous Commentaries. Previous holders of the chair have included many of England's most distinguished scholars, and its reputation and prestige are regarded as second to none in the English-speaking world.
The name of Rupert Cross thus may be added to that expanding roster of blind persons who have attained eminence in the teaching and writing of law. In this country alone that list includes our own Dr. Jacobus tenBroek; T. Munford Boyd, professor of law at the University of Virginia Law School, and Samuel Konefsky, professor of political science at Brooklyn College, New York.
Dr. Cross attended Worcester College for the Blind and graduated in 1935 from Worcester College, Oxford. Since 1945 he has held a succession of university lectureships, culminating with his appointment as university lecturer in the law of evidence at Magdalen College in 1956, and his attainment of the D.C.L. (doctorate in law) in 1958.
In addition to a wide list of notable books and writings in jurisprudence and criminal law, the 51-year-old scholar is a distinguished chess player who captained the Oxford team for four years during his student days. His other activities have included membership on the Council of the Royal National Institute for the Blind and on the Board of Governors of the Worcester College for the Blind. He is currently chairman of the law board at Oxford and a member of the Home Office Committee on Jury Service.
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Justice, according to the old adage, is blind. If this is so, should not the blind sit on juries?
At its Delegates' Conference in Edinburgh last June, the National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom passed a resolution on jury service for blind persons. They should not be automatically disqualified from jury duty, the resolution declared--and went on to direct the executive council to oppose vigorously any move toward such disqualification.
On the other hand, said the resolution, the council should "recommend that they [blind persons] be given a statutory right to claim exemption."
This is an oddly contradictory doctrine. If blind persons are indeed qualified to serve on juries, then what justification can there be for granting them "a statutory right to claim exemption"? If on the other hand they are not qualified, then they are automatically exempt from service.
On its face, this resolution of the British Federation has all the appearance of a classic case of wishing to have your cake and eat it too. For years the organized blind both and Britain and the U.S., have fought for the right to serve on juries--as a demonstration of their normality and equality. But with rights go responsibilities; there can be little left of the right of blind persons to perform normal public duties if it is accompanied by a certificate of exemption "on grounds of blindness."
Let us hope that our fellow federationists will repair this gap in their logic and return singlemindedly to the good fight for equal rights before the law--and in the jury box. For if it is true that justice is blind (that is, impartial), then the blind have an obligation to be on the side of justice.
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By Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
The voice of the federated blind--THE BRAILLE MONITOR--needs your support: not only your moral support but your financial support as well.
Unlike most other magazines, the MONITOR does not accept advertising--and so is denied a common and substantial source of revenue. Nor does it sell subscriptions or levy other charges upon its readers. In both the braille and inkprint editions, your MONITOR is a free gift to you and to all blind persons who request it- -up to the limit of our ability to meet the demand.
Unfortunately our financial resources have not kept pace with the large and growing demand for copies. Already there is a heavy backlog of would-be subscribers to whom the MONITOR cannot now be sent--blind men and women who want and need our publication in order to keep abreast of news and information of vital importance to their welfare and well-being.
The cost of the MONITOR for one year is approximately three dollars for the inkprint edition and about six dollars in braille. But the value of this journal to its readers is not to be estimated in dollars.
Will you help us to meet our goal of placing THE BRAILLE MONITOR in the hands of every blind man and woman who wishes to receive it?
No contribution is too small. Send yours to the Editor, THE BRAILLE MONITOR, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708.
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Investigations of an animal parasite which can cause serious illness and blindness in human beings are underway by England's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This action follows the findings of a group of doctors at London's Hospital for Tropical Diseases, whose tests have shown that twenty percent of the cats and dogs in Britain are infested with the parasite.
The doctors tested 300 lost dogs and found that 62 of them had the eggs of the parasitic worm called toxocara canis. Ova of the related toxocara cati were recovered from 40 out of 176 cats. The cats had all been left for a time in animal homes.
The report by the doctors, led by Professor Alan Woodruff, says that when the parasite's eggs are swallowed by man they develop into larvae and find their way into the liver, lungs, eye, brain and other organs. Human beings are usually infected by fondling infected animals or by handling soil infected by them and putting unwashed fingers into the mouth. Puppies are more commonly infected than adult dogs, and the greatest risk of contracting the disease comes when an infected puppy is brought into a household where there are children.
Altogether, says the report, 100 cases of blindness from toxocara have been reported. Skin tests at the hospital for tropical diseases indicate that several unexplained allergies could be related to toxocariasis. There is still no cure for these infections, and Professor Woodruff and his colleagues warn parents of the danger to children from fondling puppies.
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Students at Beaumont School, in Portland, Oregon, have chosen as their student body president a top scholar who is also a Boy Scout, likes ham radio, ping-pong and swimming--and is blind. According to an Associated Press story published across the country, the president-elect is Ben Prows, 13, a seventh-grader. . . . Gwen Rittgers has sweetened the fund which the Progressive Blind of Missouri is building toward purchase of a braille duplicator for Ceylon by contributing 40 hours of instruction in braille transcribing in exchange for a contribution of $100. . . . The Wyoming Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is expanding its coverage in sparsely populated areas of the state by employing qualified women as part-time counsellors. , . .
Hope for restored vision for thousands of blind persons is seen in a newly developed artificial cornea, already used successfully in rabbits and monkeys. Dr. William Stone, Jr., and associates at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary are working on the removable plastic cornea, potentially of help to 90,000 Americans blinded totally or partially by opaque corneas. . . . The Federal Service Entrance Examination is being given from now through May, 1965, for beginning positions for those with college degress or who will graduate in the current college year. With salaries starting at $5,000 per year, Jobs available include personnel management, economics and social sciences, Check with your nearest U.S. Civil Service Office or university placement office. . . .
Chicago attorney Burton Kolman and his Seeing Eye dog. Snow, recently completed a seven-week tour of Europe in behalf of the National Committee for the Handicapped 's people-to-people program. . . Marie Bell McCoy, suddenly blinded while on a vacation with her husband, sums up the loss of her sight in Journey Out of Darkness (published by David McKay & Co.) as follows: "The .experience of blindness, which at first seemed a narrow and confining cubicle, has proved actually to be the chute which released me into the world of exploration.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency) is planning an exhibit for the blind depicting developments of the rocket age--with the NFB's John Nagle as one of their consultants. . . . The Clovernook Printing House for the Blind, our publisher located at 6990 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati 31, Ohio, sells extra copies of its own braille books in the process of producing them for the Library of Congress. Selling at about the same prices as regular printed books, their titles are available on request. . . .
The Seeing Eye Inc., of Morristown. New Jersey, offers free braille editions of a number of publications in addition to its magazine THE SEEING EYE. They are: Facts About the Seeing Eye , The Importance of Mobility to Blind People and the Potential Need for Dog Guides, and A Brief History of Dog Guides for the Blind. . . . THE EPISCOPALIAN is now being published in a monthly Talking Book edition. Free subscription may be obtained from Talking Book, The Home Department, Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10017.
Bad news for Ohioans is contained in the proposed consolidation of public assistance programs (for aged, blind, disabled, dependent children and poor relief) under strict state supervision, to be recommended to the 1965 state legislature by State Welfare Director, Denver White, with the backing of Governor Rhodes. The move will assertedly eliminate 117 offices now administering single programs. . . .Electro- Mechanical Consultants of New York City have developed a braille teaching device called the "Audiotact"--which is said to speed self-instruction by having braille symbols appear electronically on the deck of the machine. . . .
Bernard Levin writes from Brighton, Massachusetts: "If every local chapter could have an inkprint copy of the BRAILLE MONITOR each month, the president of each group could choose at least a few articles to have read at each meeting. This could bring to hundreds of blind men and women news of what is really happening throughout the land to their fellow -blind." Soutern Illinois University announces establishment of a national information center for recreational programs of the ill and the handicapped--for the purposes of maintaining a central location for collection and distribution of information, instructional aids and devices in the field of recreation for the handicapped. . . .
The Trenton, New Jersey, Association of the Blind has enlisted the aid of police and the local Chamber of Commerce to "halt misrepresentation of the blind" by telephone solicitors and salesmen, according to a Trenton newspaper story which quoted Robert K. Owens, president of the Association and executive secretary of the Associated Blind of New Jersey, . , . The Springfield, Massachusetts, UNION reports that "Richard Clark of Athol, and Gene Griswold of Hawley (both blind) have been astounding Franklin County Fair views with games of chess, cribbage, checkers and even poker" in their fairground booth sponsored by the Greenfield-Athol Association of the Blind affiliated with the Associated Blind of Massachusetts. . . .
The Reader's Digest is now available in a large print edition (16 point type) published by Xerox Corporation, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 3300, New York, New York 10017. Each Month's issue consists of two volumes, 11x15 inches and 1/2 inch thick at a cost of $4.50 per issue or $25. 65 for a six-months subscription. . . .Clyde Ross has just received the "Handicapped Employee of the Year" award from the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation of Akron, Ohio» . .
Bibliography for a Blind Graduate Student in the Field of Guidance and Counselling is available on request from the author in inkprint or Braille, Address requests to Isabelle C. Akstens, Periapatologist, Boston College, Graduate School, Chestnut Hill 67, Massachusetts.... Physical Fitness for You by Bonnie Pruden, an industrial exercise consultant, is now available on talking book records. It can be obtained from regional libraries or purchased from the American Foundation for the Blind, 15 West l6th Street, New York 10011. . . . A highly specialized research center to study diseases of the cornea is to be established at Columbia University and financed by a 1.6 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness of the Department of Public Health. Its program is primarily in the area of basic research.
David W. Olsen, presently Superintendent of the Kansas School for the Blind, has been appointed special assistant to Josef G. Kauggman, Principal of the Overbrook School for the Blind. The superintendent of the Kansas School for the Deaf will assume Olsen's duties at the Kansas School for the Blind. . . . A team of blind Scottish football players, known as the "Glasgow Rovers," has entered another season of play. Using a ball made of cane, the team has taken on all comers, blind or sighted, and reportedly has never been defeated. Their game, called "Crab Football," is played from a sitting position and is actually a version of soccer. . . .
The main portion (469 pages) of the Warren Commission's Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is being recorded for the blind by the Library of Congress, and is expected to be available within two months. The Report's 25-page summary and conclusion also will be published in braille. . . .Cecil Leon, third vice-president of the Associated Blind of New Jersey, reports in THE BLIND LEADER that only one blind street beggar put in an appearance in Atlantic City this year. The lone mendicant was ordered to leave town or face prosecution.
Associate Justice William E, Powers, 56, of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, recently received the George Washington Medal as "blind father of the year" from the National Fathers Day Committee .... The Eyeball Network, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has changed its name to "The Eye Bank Network" and has added several new stations in various states, . . . The Royal National Institute for the Blind in London distributed braille copies of the three national parties' election platforms to the blind voters of Britain during the recent political campaign.
Louis Braille, to whom the blind owe their alphabet, was himself blinded at the age of three when the knife slipped as he was cutting leather in his father's shop. By the time he was 15, inspired by a 12-cell dot system used by an artillery officers. Braille had worked out an adaptation that adequately met the needs of the blind. . . . A blind nun, Sister Marie Madeline, has been named Mother Superior of Our Lady of Hope Convent in Owensboro, Kentucky. . . . A 12-year-old blind "ham" radio operator, Joseph Renn of San Diego, is credited with obtaining more than 200 pledges of eyes for corneal transplants in an "Eye Will" campaign by a group of ham operators. . . .
Recording for the Blind, Inc., has spent around one million dollars on the purchase and remodeling of a headquarters in New York City, expected to be open for business in November. . . . Four new members have been appointed to the executive committee of the Associated Blind of New Jersey. They are: Stanley G. Spaide, of Camden; Mrs. Norbert Cifelli, Trenton; Mrs. Anna Rymond, Yardville; Miss Katherine Puglise, Trenton, and Mrs. Arthur Linsinbigler, Jr., Trenton.
Some 48 blind teen-agers from the Perkins School for the Blind recently "guided" sports car drivers over a 70-mile course near Wakefield, Massachusetts. The youngsters sat beside the drivers and directed them over the route by reading a Braille clue sheet; the drivers were timed precisely and an error by the blind "navigator" could put the car out of the race. . . . The Washington State Association of the Blind is working on plans to initiate a program of home visits by its members to newly blinded persons to assist them in learning to perform daily tasks about the home. . . .
Although foreign blind students generally do not have the proper playback equipment, Recording For the Blind reports that it is currently serving students in several overseas locations--Hong Kong, Ethiopia, Israel, Lebanon, Scotland, England and the West Indies. . . . Beverly Gladden notes that a recent visitor to Europe has pointed out that in Germany blind persons wear black arm bands, whereas in France the blind carry white canes as in the U.S. "It makes one wonder about Germany's attitude toward blind citizens," says Bev. "Is this the old symbol of mourning? A black arm band can't be a very good travel aid.". . . .
Bill Stegner, hired in September as an engineer for radio station for KGHM in Brookfield, Missouri, is the only blind person to whom the Federal Communications Commission has issued a permit for such work, according to the Associated Press. Stegner, 26, also works as a disc jockey and sometimes reads commercial and news copy over the air. . . .
A 45-year-old Marine Corps veteran who lost his sight in 1944 while serving with the Third Marine Division at Guam, has been presented with the Achievement Award of the Blinded Vetrans Association in recognition of personal accomplishment and participation in community affairs. He is John Hodgin, presently the executive director of Protestant Social Welfare Services in Miami, Florida. . . .
British European Airways has expressed willingness to permit blind persons and their sighted guides to travel on its lines for one fare. The National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom requested this concession "for official journeys." The plan has yet to be approved by the Air Transport Licensing Board of Great Britain. , . .
Dr. Fatima Shah, our distinguished blind visitor from Pakistan, was the subject of two detailed journalistic essays recently. The Des Moines TRIBUNE (September 23, 1964) carried an extended account of her activities in rehabilitation and family planning. PANORAMA, official magazine of the United States Information Agency, drew attention in a recent issue to Dr. Shah's varied services and future projects on behalf of the blind of Pakistan. . . .
Gregory Kachadoorian, member of the Boston Chapter of the Associated Blind of Massachusetts and a representative in the state legislature, has been appointed chairman of the Advisory Board of the Massachusetts State Division of the Blind, . . . Mrs. Herberte, a member of the Omaha Association of the Blind, died on October 3 as a result of severe burns incurred in her home in Iowa. . . .Ray Jensen, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Omaha Association and a longtime member of the National Federation, died on October 1 after a comparatively brief illness. . . . Jack Swager, president of the Onaaha Association who broke his leg last April, has recuperated to the point where he was able to resume his chairmanship of the OAB at its September meeting.
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A recent concerted move on the part of many chiropractic training schools throughout the country to deny blind persons access to their training facilities has aroused an active counter-campaign on the part of the nation's organized blind.
The National Federation of the Blind has urged blind persons in all states to join in a program of action aimed at halting further discrimination by the chiropractic schools against blind students and practicing chiropractors. These actions include:
1--Development of a roster of successful blind chiropractors everywhere in the country. Toward this end, Federationists and other interested persons are requested to send the names and addresses of all blind chiropractors (or as many as possible) in their states and localities. The lists, complete or partial, should be sent immediately to the National Federation of the Blind 2341 Cortez Lane, Sacramento, California.
2--Members of state and local chapters affiliated with the National Federation are requested to present to their meetings the resolution on the issue adopted by the NFB at its 1964 convention, and upon approval of a similar resolution to supply copies to newspapers, radio and TV stations and other news media, urging their cooperation in publicizing this new threat to equal opportunity and normal participation on the part of blind persons. Text of the NFB convention resolution follows:
Whereas, for many years blind persons have served successfully in the chiropractic profession where they have provided the essential services to meet the health needs of their patients and made significant contributions to the healing arts; and
Whereas, blind practicing chiropractors have earned the respect of their colleagues and merited the trust and confidence of their patients, many of whom have been served over a period of many years; and
Whereas, most chiropractic training schools have initiated the practice of rejecting blind applicants for chiropractic training on the assumption that they are unable to take full advantage of the training program because of increased emphasis on visual aids; and
Whereas, this practice will deny qualified blind persons who have the interest, aptitude and capacity to become successful chiropractors from entering the profession and may tend to discredit those blind individuals who are currently in practice; and
Whereas, California has already enacted legislation which prohibits chiropractic training schools from denying qualified blind persons the opportunity for training, boarding and certification as chiropractors; now therefore
Be it resolved by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this 2nd day of July, 1964, in Phoenix, Arizona, that the American Chiropractic Accreditation Board be requested to institute policies which will assure the admission of qualified blind applicants to training facilities in order to eliminate any discrimination on the basis of blindness; and
Be it further resolved that the National Federation of the Blind authorizes and instructs its officers and staff, and any special committee appointed by the President, to take all appropriate steps necessary to secure admission of qualified blind persons to chiropractic training schools; and
Be it further resolved that the officials and committees of this Federation are authorized and instructed to contact such individuals and organizations as may be of assistance in eliminating barriers to the training, boarding, and certification of blind persons as chiropractors on a basis of equality with other candidates; and
Be it further resolved that this organization authorizes and instructs its officers and staff to prepare and secure the introduction of Federal legislation to prohibit discrimination against qualified blind candidates for admission to chiropractic training schools.
Unanimously adopted, July 2, 1964
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R.E. (Bob) Whitehead was re-elected as president of the Kentucky Federation of the Blind during the group's convention September 18-19 at Louisville's Kentucky Hotel. The state president's address is 40 University Place, Louisville 40206.
Other Federation officers elected or re-elected are; Mrs. Margaret Bourne, Louisville, first vice-president; John Steele, Henderson, second vice-president; Lloyd Whitmer, Louisville, third vice-president; Mrs. Virginia Loar, Ashland, recording secretary; Mrs. Eloise Becker, Louisville, corresponding secretary, and Harold Reagan, Louisville, treasurer.
Kenneth Jernigan, NFB first vice-president and also director of Iowa's Commission for the Blind, gave the key address before an audience of well over 100 at the banquet, which also honored Mrs. Helen McDaniel, retiring school for the blind teacher, and Glen Shoulders, chairman of the Federation's finance committee.
The convention passed four resolutions calling variously for maj or expansion of Kentucky's facilities for assisting blind persons. Pat Vice, of Frankfort, was appointed as chairman of the legislative committee and Glen Shoulders was named to head the finance committee.
The 30th anniversary of the California Council of the Blind was celebrated October 9-11 at the semi-annual convention of the CCB at the Hollywood Rossevelt Hotel. Re-elected to another term of leadership was President James McGinnis, 16048 Vanowen, Suite 7, Van Nuys.
In other elections Anthony Mannino was named first vice-president; Jewel Bass, second vice-president; Lawrence Marcellino, secretary, and Sybil Westbrook, treasurer. Members of the Council's board of directors are James Garfield, Charles Galloway, George Mcdann, and Russell Kletzing.
A highlight of the convention was a panel discussion on legislative prospects, which followed a report by Kletzing. Among key points discussed was the Council's intention to work toward establishment of a guaranteed annual income to recipients of aid to the blind.
"International Federation of the Blind-its Development and Promise" was the subject of another panel discussion.
Marked by an atmosphere of enthusiasm and harmony the tenth annual convention of the Alabama Federation of the Blind took place before an audience of more than 100 members on October 9 through 11 at Montgomery's Whitley Hotel.
The convention re-elected for another presidential term Calvin Wooten (30 West 28th Street, Anniston, Alabama). Other officers chosen are: Rogers Smith first vicepresident; Charles Belong, second vice-president; Barney Abbott, secretary, and Mrs. Burlie K. Button, treasurer.
Donald C.Capps, second vice-president of the National Federation of the Blind, delivered the banquet address. Other convention speakers included Alabama Congressman William Edwards and State Senator Roland Cooper.
The Yorktown Hotel, at York Pennsylvania, was the scene on September 12 and 13 for the annual convention of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind. Among the many reports heard by delegates gathered from all over the state was a very enthusiastic account by May Davidow of her trip to the NFB convention at Phoenix.
Among guest speakers at the convention were William Tollen, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Office of Public Assistance; State Senator Robert C. Beers, and Frederick C. Lindberg, director of state rehabilitative and social services.
The eighth annual convention of the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind was held the weekend of September 26 and 27 at Charleston's Francis Marion Hotel, with more than 100 in attendance. The highlight of the convention was the banquet, which was addressed by Lt. Governor Robert E. McNair,
The Aurora Service Award, given annually to the sighted person judged to have made the greatest contribution to the blind, was presented to Mr. David Baker, who was highly instrumental in the building of the Aurora Center. The Donald C.Capps Award, established some years ago by Ways and Means for the Blind, Augusta, Georgia, was presented to Aurora State Director, Francis M. Stanton, for his services to the organization. This award is given to the blind person judged to have made the greatest contribution to the State's blind. Dr. Samuel M. Lawton, founder of the Aurora Club 20 years ago, was also presented a silver trophy in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the Organization.
The following officers were re-elected: President, Donald C.Capps; first vice-president, Mrs. Mildred Kirkland; second vice-president, Mrs. Catherine Morrison; secretary, Marshall Tucker. The new treasurer is Miss Lois Boltin. Board members elected were: from Columbia, Mrs. Mildred Griser, MacDonald Hancock, John W. Potter, Ruby Baughman and W. F. Young. From Charleston, Mrs. Louise Royall, Mrs. Ethel Mills and Mrs. Eva Ward. From Spartanburg, Marvin Derrick, Melvin Jenkins and Gayle Martin.
The Nevada Federation of the Blind held its annual convention in Las Vegas on October 13,14 and 15. U.S. Senator Howard Cannon spoke to the group on the first day. There were 100 persons present at the banquet which was held in the beautiful new Elks Temple. Congressman Walter Baring spoke. Perry Sundquist, member of the NFB executive committee, delivered the banquet address and also covered in detail Federal legislation being sponsored by the NFB.
The convention decided to sponsor two pieces of legislation in the 1965 session--the abolition of durational residence as a requirement for Aid to the Blind, and the transfer of the administration of Aid to the Blind from the general State Welfare Agency to the Division of Services for the Blind. Audrey Tait was re-elected president, K.O. Knudson was re-elected first vice-president; Cleo Fellers, second vice-president; James Ellis, secretary-treasurer; Lare Kyle, Chaplin. Peggy Stevenson, Jean Savage, Carl Clontz and Jimmy Lee Washington were elected board members. The 1965 state convention will be held in Reno.
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By John Wilson
(Editor's note: Mr. Wilson is director of the Royal Common- wealth Society for the Blind, London. His paper, subtitled "The Extent, Causes and Distribution of Blindness," was presented to the World Assembly of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, New York, July 31, 1964.)
It is an astonishing fact that, during the five years since this Assembly last met, the world's population has increased by 300 million. In the fourteen days of our conference another four million will be born. The pace is accelerating: by 1975, the world's population will have reached 4,000 million and shortly after the close of this century it should reach 6,000 million. One enthusiastic mathematician has calculated that, if we go on at this rate, by 2,000 A.D. there will be only one square foot of the earth's surface for every individual.
Nobody knows how many blind people there are in the world today. All that is possible is to make an intelligent guess on the statistics which are available, and this was how the World Health Organization, in 1962, produced its minimum estimate of 10 million. To avoid constant repetition, I will use the phrase 'blindness rate' to mean the number of blind people per 100,000 of the general population; thus on the world's present population of 3, 200 million, the W. H. O. estimate works out at a blindness rate of 320. That estimate was based on minimum figures and deliberately ignored the fact that many countries count only the totally blind. If an internationally acceptable definition of blindness had been used, the figure would have been much higher. Throughout most of Asia, a blindness rate of 500 would be more realistic and, in tropical Africa at least 700. I believe that a blindness rate of 450 would be nearer the truth as a world average, and that would give a total of 14 million blind people.
The guess-work becomes even more approximate as we look to the future. Nuclear wars apart, the growth of the general population is reasonably predictable; what is much less certain is our capacity to reduce the proportion of that population which will be blind. It is a race between the mothers and the doctors and, for the present, the mothers are winning. It should however be possible to analyze the main factors which will control the situation and this I will attempt to do.
People are living longer. Today, a twenty-year-old Indian can expect live until he is sixty-three; his father would have been lucky to have lived into his fifties. This lengthening of the span of life is happening over much of the world and must have a considerable effect on the world's blind population because the risk of blindness increases sharply with age.
In Britain, where the general blindness rate is low (207) the rate amongst people over eighty-five is 5,750, a figure which would not be out of place in the worst "river blindness" area. Mainly because of the ageing of the population, the number of blind in Britain has continued to increase at a time when the blindness rate in most other age groups has been progressively reduced; two-thirds of the British blind are now over sixty-five years of age.
This age factor has not yet had its effect on the blindness statistics in most of the countries of Africa and Asia. A recent survey in Northern Rhodesia showed that only 12% of the blind were over sixty years of age. The reasons must be that, previously, only a small fraction of such populations survived into the upper age groups in which cataract and glaucoma are most prevalent. A critical change is now taking place and with each decade in increasing number of Africans and Asians will survive into their sixties and seventies. There is no reason why they should be insulated from the ophthalmic consequences and, indeed, the evidence is that cataract is not only more prevalent in Asian communities but also that it occurs at an earlier age than in the West. In the massive populations concerned, even a small change in the age pattern could have a startling effect on the number of the blind.
But the main reason for the world's population growth is the improved survival rate among children. As acountry's health services advance from a primitive to a transitional stage (which is what is happening over much of the world at present) the death rate per thousand of children under four years drops from about 50 to 70. This is the force which has detonated the population explosion and it has already produced astonishing results. In India, there are 170 million children below fourteen (38% of the population); in Ghana it is 40%; in Mexico 41%. Every day, throughout the world, 300,000 children are likely to be born and their chance of survival is spectacularly better than ever before. As they themselves reach the age of parenthood the growth of the population will accelerate from arithmetical to, geometrical progression. This is the age group which most concerns workers for the blind and the question which we must ask is what fraction of this exploding child population will be blind.
At the time of the Oslo Conference, by the simple process of totalling the figures returned by the various countries and by using them to strike an average for countries which did not make returns, I estimated that the minimum number of blind children of school age was 660,000. Much has happened since 1957 and it now looks as though the figures on which that estimate was based were in many cases too low. The Government of India, for example, has recently estimated that there are 400,000 blind children in that country. This seems an incredible figure but, whilst in New Delhi last year, I had the benefit of seeing some of the samples on which it was based and they are most impressive. There is too little information to justify an international estimate, but it is a chilling thought that, even if the world's blindness rate amongst children were no higher than the present level in the United States (and it must obviously be much higher), there would today be more than 600,000 blind children in the world.
As health services improve, child blindness decreases, but the big question is whether the reduction will be fast enough. In a predictable period of years, the number of children in the world will double; unless, during that same period, the blindness rate amongst children halves, the total number will not fall. Put another way, unless we are as efficient at preventing the causes of blindness as we are at preventing the causes of death, the position will get worse. We have to gallop in order to stand still.
In countries with advanced medical services there is good reason for optimism. In England in 1962, the blindness rate amongst children was 21. Despite a steady increase in the general birth rate, the number of blind children has continued to fall and is now lower than ever.
The same is true of other countries with a similar standard of medical services. One disturbing fact is that blindness from hereditary causes is assuming greater significance. Children with these conditions have a better chance of survival nowadays and, if they not only survive but become parents, they will cast a long shadow into the future. However, that problem is being energetically tackled and it is reasonable to expect that in the advanced countries the number of blind children will continue to decline though the proportion with secondary handicaps will increase.
But what happens in such countries can have only a marginal effect on the world picture. Nearly three-quarters of the world's population lives in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and it is in those areas that the. critical equation will work itself out.
In such countries, not only is the population growing more swiftly but the blindness rate amongst children is much higher. In India, if we accept the Ministry of Education's estimate, the rate is 235. Surveys indicate that in areas where 80% of the population has trachoma--and that is fairly common in Africa and the Near East--1% of the children will probably be blind. This figure has recently been recorded in a survey in Southern Arabia. In the Luapula Valley of Northern Rhodesia (though fortunately this is a freak figure) it was found that 82% of the blind lost their sight in the first ten years of life. If such figures were projected into the next few generations the result would be appalling, but we need not take such a pessimistic view.
Some of the causes of infant mortality, notably smallpox, are also major causes of child blindness and their control is an unmixed blessing. Trachoma, conjunctivitis, measles, gonorrhoea and leprosy can now be controlled and, if we have the will to match our skill, a great reduction can be made in these giant diseases which have destroyed the eyes of children from the beginning of human history; but, as these giants dwindle, it is becoming increasingly evident that the centre of the stage will still be dominated by the massive spectre of malnutrition.
During the past three years, consultants of the World Health Organization have made an international survey of xeropthalmia, the eye condition associated with vitamin A deficiency. In its advanced form, keratomalacia, this is a direct cause of blindness, but by far the most serious effect of vitamin deficiency is that it predisposes children, particularly in the months immediately after weaning, to blindness from causes which would not destroy a well-nourished eye. The report of the W.H.O. consultants is a grim document; it shows, with a mass of supporting evidence, that this is a major health problem throughout the world, being particularly serious in the highly populous areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In Dacca, a city with half a million in habitants, two eye hospitals in a single year recorded 259 children blinded by keratomalacia. In Indonesia, where xerophthalmia is one of the most prevalent maladies amongst infants, it was found that 8% of children with this condition had lesions which would cause blindness.
The Food and Agricultural Organization has estimated that about a third of the world's population lives on a diet chronically deficient in protein and essential vitamins. In such communities, the blindness rate is usually high, but it would be much higher were it not for the fact that children with keratomalacia often die. In Indonesia, it was observed that about half the children with xerophthalmia die in the first few years of life; the death rate amongst children with keratomalacia is probably even higher--one authority put it at 80%. Today, however, it is often possible for emergency treatment to save the life, though not the sight, of such children. This is a most welcome advance but, in the massive populations concerned even a modest improvement in the survival rate could cause a startling increase in the number of blind children.
The conclusion seems to be that, unless nutrition can be improved or the ocular effects of malnutrition controlled, the blindness rate amongst children over much of the world will not fall below the critical figure necessary to balance population growth. Experiments are being made with the use of massive doses of Vitamin A, but the only sure answer is a permanent improvement in diet. This is a task for agriculturalists. Community Development workers, and teachers and perhaps, as Dr. Cicely Williams has said, the problem will be solved only when a different view prevails of the value of child life.
Control of trachoma and river blindness (onchocerciasis) is now as much an administrative as a medical problem. Techniques of prevention will doubtless .continue to improve, but already any country which is determined to do so could control these scourges. It is a question of the priority which is assigned to the task, and that largely depends on the extent to which the public's conscience is stirred.
In any country, the prevalence of blindness from glaucoma and cataract is related to the number of eye specialists able to do the necessary surgery. In the United States there is one eye specialists to every 30,000 people; in Northern Nigeria, there are four specialists to 30 million people. There is an acute shortage of eye specialists in the countries which most need them and, unless something decisive is done to increase training facilities and to induce ophthalmologists to work in rural areas, a great burden of needless blindness will be passed on to the next generation.
There are too many uncertainties in this situation to warrant any dogmatic conclusions. However, on the facts so far as I have been able to ascertain them, I believe that the following trends are likely:
1. Amongst that minority of the world's population which enjoys advanced medical and social services, the blindness rate is likely to continue to decrease until it reaches about 200. It may go lower in populations with a low average age. The proportion of old blind people will rise and the number of blind children should continue to fall until the hereditary causes become the decisive factor.
2. Amongst the three-quarters of the world's population which lives in Asia, Africa and Latin America, we should expect a steady, and in some places, a sharp decrease in the number of old blind people. The blindness rate amongst children should go down but, because of the accelerating growth of the child population generally, the actual number of blind children is unlikely to fall. The critical factor is malnutrition and, unless its ophthalmic consequences can be controlled, the blindness rate amongst children is unlikely to fall fast enough to balance the growth of the child population generally; in some areas the results of this could be alarming.
3. If the world's blindness rate is assumed to be 450, and if that rate is not appreciably reduced, the number of blind people in the world will rise from 14 million at present to 18 million by 1975 and to 27 million by the turn of the century. To maintain the present figure of about 14 million, the blindness rate will have to be reduced from 450 to 350 by 1975 and to 230 by the close of the century. The first of these two propostions seems too pessimistic and the second too optimistic; the truth mah lie somewhere in between, in which case, by 1975, we can expect a blind population of about 16 million and, by the turn of the century, about 20 million.
It is for others in this Conference to indicate how far we in work for the blind are likely to respond to the astonishing challenges of this changing world. To do so significantly we must extend the whole scale of achievement. Where we have thought in hundreds, we must think in scores of thousands; where we have beenconcerned with single institutions, we must promote whole national systems. In the process, we may have to abandon some of our traditional specialism so that we can gear the advance to those dynamic forces of educational and social betterment which are moving in the world today. We must be concerned with prevention and join with the doctors in giving this effort the momentum of a great international cause.
Professor Toynbee has said that the twentieth century may chiefly be remembered as the age in which men dared to regard the welfare of the whole of the human race as a reasonable objective. That human race contains a growing multitude of blind people; they are not dots on a statistician's chart nor cards in a computer, but people whose welfare is our objective. We will not attain it unless the need of the blind anywhere becomes the active concern of workers for the blind everywhere.
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