Last month, just before leaving town for some international meetings, I had a message on my phone reminding me it was time for my annual eye exam. After making a note to book an appointment upon my return, I left home confident that I would be able to get the eye care I needed.
I live in Canada where health care is good, but I know that many who live in developing nations are not as fortunate. For example, in the African country of Ghana, there are districts where only 10 to 30 percent of the population has access to reliable eye care of any kind. Imagine having an eye injury and not being able to do anything about it!
This is a huge problem in sub-Saharan Africa and the reasons are many. They include poorly equipped facilities, physicians who are not fully trained in eye health and lack of understanding among the people.
For years, Operation Eyesight has been working hard to help correct these problems, but we can’t do it alone. Thankfully, we found a good friend in Standard Chartered Bank.
The leaders of this company are deeply concerned about health issues, including eye health, and they created a funding program called Seeing is Believing. Money from this program is currently supporting Operation Eyesight’s work in 20 districts throughout Ghana focused on medical training, equipment and general awareness of eye health.
The Standard Chartered Bank team in Ghana along with the Operation Eyesight staff came up with the term RB2QE which means “reducing barriers to quality eye care” – this is the key to eliminating avoidable blindness.
RB2QE drives the latest phase of the Seeing is Believing project which was launched this past June in Accra, Ghana. The Ghana Ministry of Health is another vital partner, and the government officials I met are enthusiastic about the potential to save the sight of thousands of their most vulnerable people.
Once back home in Calgary I phoned to book that eye appointment – no problem. And this week I will take the short ride to the optometrist and be assured of a comprehensive, high quality exam. This is exactly what everyone should have, no matter where they live. This is the kind of future that Operation Eyesight envisions, and working with groups like Standard Chartered Bank, national governments and supporters like you, it will happen.