The Countess of Wessex meeting people

HRH The Countess of Wessex Attends Launch of our Surgical Fund Appeal

On Tuesday 14th September, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex joined us to mark the launch of our Surgical Fund Appeal at the Royal College of Surgeons in central London.

The Countess, as Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, listened as Orbis staff and volunteers outlined how the Surgical Fund Appeal will provide 17,000 operations to adults and children across Ethiopia, Nepal and Bangladesh, tackling debilitating conditions such as trachomatous trichiasis, cataract and strabismus. Until 31st December, donations to the appeal will be matched up to £100,000 thanks to the generosity of Orbis Ambassador, Sunil Ruia and his family.

Having previously travelled with Orbis to India and Bangladesh, Her Royal Highness has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of avoidable blindness on people’s lives. On these visits, Her Royal Highness spoke with adults and children who had received life changing surgery, witnessing their initial reactions as their bandages were removed.

Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wesssex meets head nurse Mammoth Adhikary at Orbis partner Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute

In many parts of the world, avoidable vision loss can erase livelihoods and halt educations in their tracks. The longer an eye condition is left, the more damage it can cause. Too many people in the world are missing out on sight-saving operations because of a lack of access to trained eye care professionals in remote and underserved areas where they live. The operations supported by our Surgical Fund Appeal will help ensure a person’s eye condition no longer impacts their education, their income or their place within the community and kick start the next phase of their life.

Rebecca Cronin, Chief Executive of Orbis UK said: “As an organisation, we bring people together to work as one to ensure no one loses their sight simply because of where they live. When eye care professionals get the training they need, patients get the eye care they deserve.

“Access to this care is not always easy, and in many areas across Ethiopia, Nepal and Bangladesh, services may be too far away or cost too much. Through this fund we hope to open-up these services to the people who need them most, and thanks to the Ruia family, donations to the Surgical Fund Appeal can now have twice the impact.”

Those speaking at the event included Rob Pinchbeck Chair of Orbis UK, Rebecca Cronin, Chief Executive of Orbis UK and Michelle Le Cheminant, Consultant Anaesthetist, NHS staff member and Orbis medical volunteer.

Michelle Le Cheminant, said: “The legacy of Orbis is truly special and something I have witnessed time and time again. On my first Orbis project in Binh Dinh, Vietnam I trained a young anaesthetic doctor called Dr. Ngoc. She was just starting out in her career. Several years later I met her again on a project in Hue and it was amazing to see how she had developed into a confident and competent clinician. It was really quite an emotional moment and for me this really reinforced the unique value of Orbis and their long term partnerships.”

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