Qatar Charity (QC), and the international blindness prevention organisation Orbis have committed to collaborating on future eye care projects during a meeting with the Countess of Wessex, QC’s senior management team and representatives from Orbis.
The Countess of Wessex is currently in Doha visiting organisations who are championing eye care programmes, in support of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness's (IAPB) ‘2030 In Sight’ initiative. The campaign seeks to highlight the scale of avoidable blindness, and to promote a collaborative, global approach to ensuring eye care and rehabilitation facilities are available to everyone who needs them, wherever they are in the world.
There are 338mn people globally who are blind or are living with moderate-to-severe visual impairment, yet 77% of this is avoidable. With the pandemic, the ability to treat people has slowed, creating a backlog of vital eye treatments and surgeries. The medical community has adapted and support for services is more crucial now than ever before to ensure that no one goes needlessly blind.
Orbis has been transforming lives through the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for nearly four decades. With a close network of partners, they mentor and train local eye care teams – from community workers to doctors and nurses – so that they can save and restore vision in their communities.
Orbis and QC have collaborated on a previous successful programme delivering eye care initiatives in Bangladesh, thanks to the generosity of donors from across the country. As a result, between 2015 and 2020, more than a million people accessed eye health facilities to receive the eye tests or treatments they needed, 21 new cataract surgeons received training and nurses also completed almost a hundred trainings in clinical, nursing and training management. This led to the number of surgeries performed each year increasing, totalling more than 48,000.
Moving forwards, QC and Orbis are looking to work together once again. The new fundraising campaign will support Orbis and partners to ensure the local host population and the Rohingya community in South-East Bangladesh have continued access to eye care. Plans are for 250 frontline health workers and 22 community eye health leaders to be equipped, trained and supported and teams to carry out 140,500 screenings, leading to 13,000 treatments over the next two years.
QC CEO Yousef bin Ahmed AlKuwari said: “Qatar Charity and Orbis have built a solid partnership in support of eye health care for marginalised and vulnerable populations. Today, we look forward to building on a successful track record with Orbis and expand our cooperation to more hard-to-reach areas to ensure a sustainable, inclusive, quality vision care for all”.
Rebecca Cronin, Orbis UK CEO said: “Our previous programme with Qatar Charity provided so many with access to quality eye care services. Without treatments, people’s livelihoods and educations can be in jeopardy. With this new programme, we can continue working with our partners to provide care to many people who have never had access to eye health before. We’re thankful for Qatar Charity’s continued passion to support our work to bring services closer to home for those who need it most.”
During the meeting, QC also discussed with the Countess, the many development areas they support in addition to eye care, including their work in Afghanistan and their Sport for Peace initiative.