On October 13, 2016, we celebrated World Sight Day with our partners, colleagues, patients and donors across the globe. Our teams in India, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Canada planned a variety of activities to educate others about avoidable blindness and showcase this year’s World Sight Day theme, “Stronger Together.”
In India, we co-hosted celebrations in partnership with Vision 2020 India, Pushpagiri Eye Institute, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Pellucid Inc., and several government organizations. We organized a partnership seminar where a panel of six members shared their perspectives on the importance of working together to achieve our mission to eliminate avoidable blindness. Our very own Kashinath Bhoosnurmath, Global Director of Programmes, represented the INGO sector on the panel.
We declared 20 more villages in India avoidable blindness-free, bringing the total number of avoidable blindness-free villages in the country to 170. We also inaugurated three Vision Centres in the urban slums of Hyderabad. In addition, we organized a “Walk for Vision” and ran awareness messages on local radio stations.
In Ghana, we co-hosted a media briefing with Ghana Health Service. The brief focused on Vision 2020, the status of eye health in Ghana, and what Ghana Health Service and Operation Eyesight are doing together to help eliminate avoidable blindness. In addition, we worked with our partners to conduct awareness activities, eye screenings and surgeries across the 10 regions of Ghana.
With our support, the National Eye Care Coordinator held eye health discussions on two prime time television networks to educate Ghanaians on eye health. We also extended our support to a non-partner district (the urban slums in Greater Accra) where we screened 540 students at Ayalolo Cluster of Schools. An estimated six million Ghanaians were reached through all of these activities.
In Zambia, we held activities in a number of provinces. Our celebrations were held in Chawama, one of three shanty towns within the capital city of Lusaka, where we’re working to eliminate avoidable blindness through Standard Chartered Bank’s Seeing is Believing program.
On World Sight Day, 440 children, women and men were screened by our partners, Chainama College of Health Sciences and University Teaching Hospital. In addition, we hosted a speaking engagement event, which received news coverage across the country.
In Kenya, we officially opened the doors to Huruma Sub-County Hospital Eye Unit in Uasin Gishu County, Eldoret. The Eye Unit was built by Operation Eyesight (through Standard Chartered Bank’s Seeing is Believing program) and the county government. We equipped the eye unit and are currently supporting the training of an ophthalmic nurse and ophthalmic clinical officer. We were honoured to have the governor of Uasin Gishu County lead our World Sight Day procession to the new eye unit.
In Canada, our friends at Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters kicked off a coffee campaign in support of Operation Eyesight. For one month starting on World Sight Day, $5 from every bag of Kiruga (Kenya) coffee sold at their Calgary locations will be donated our Kenya programs. We’re so grateful for Phil and Sebastian’s support!
We were honoured to have so many partners and friends – from governments, corporations, non-profit organizations and the eye health sector – join us for our World Sight Day celebrations. We know that when it comes to the fight against avoidable blindness, we truly are stronger together!
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