HRH The Countess of Wessex joins Orbis to celebrate the achievements of Qatar Creating Vision

July 2019

Orbis have announced that their eye health initiative, Qatar Creating Vision - funded by Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), has delivered an incredible 5.5 million eye tests to children across India and Bangladesh in the last three years.

Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, joined selected guests and representatives from Orbis, QFFD and our partners, to hear the announcement at a special event held at St James's Palace.

As Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Her Royal Highness has visited several Orbis programmes in recent years, including a visit to the Flying Eye Hospital in Bangladesh in 2017. She has also travelled to Qatar on a number of occasions to discuss issues affecting global eye health and what can be done to support people struggling with vision loss.

Qatar Creating Vision in India and Bangladesh

In July 2016, Qatar Creating Vision pledged to provide 5.6 million eye tests and treatments to children in India and Bangladesh by mid-2020 – so with 5.5 million tests having already been carried out a year before the proposed end date, the programme is well ahead of schedule.

The initiative is much needed, because in India more children struggle with blindness than any other country in the world, despite the fact that 50% of childhood blindness is preventable. It is estimated that there are 473,000 blind children in India and Bangladesh – and with quality eye care often prohibitively expensive and difficult to access, this figure will only rise without intervention from programmes like Qatar Creating Vision.

In 2018, Qatar Creating Vision also expanded to help the Rohingya and local host community struggling with vision loss in South East Bangladesh. Orbis, supported by QFFD have been working with local partners to:

  • Screen over 70,000 people
  • Carry out over 1,100 surgeries
  • Prescribe almost 28,000 treatments and glasses

Our partnership with Orbis is providing a brighter future for children through eye screening programmes in schools, ensuring pupils can get the glasses and treatment they may need quickly. We’re thrilled that targets have been surpassed and that we have been able to expand the programme to South East Bangladesh. Together with Orbis, we have been able to reach many more people than originally planned. It was an honour to announce these results in the presence of Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex.

His Excellency, Mr Khalifa Al Kuwari

Director General at the Qatar Fund for Development

Orbis is very proud of our partnership with the Qatar Fund for Development. It has shown its commitment not only to drawing attention to the issue of avoidable blindness, but to providing the financial resources needed to bring vital eye care to those struggling unnecessarily. Together, we have made great strides. In 2017, Orbis and QFFD were privileged to show The Countess of Wessex the work being undertaken through Qatar Creating Vision in Bangladesh. We are delighted to have been able to celebrate these results with Her Royal Highness today.

Dr Robert Walters

Orbis UK Trustee and Special Envoy to Qatar

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