Over 1 mln in KZN to benefit in global eye care deal

2009-06-10 00:00

MORE than one million patients in need of eye care services in KwaZulu-Natal, such as cataract treatments, are set to benefit from Giving Sight to Africa, a project funded by the international bank, Standard Chartered.

The project is a partnership between Standard Chartered Bank, the KZN Health Department and the NGO International Centre for Eye Care Education (ICEE).

Director of Standard Chartered Bank, Richard Meddings, Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and ICEE global programme director Professor Kovin Naidoo visited Edendale Hospital’s eye clinic yesterday, and later told the hospital staff and the media about what has been achieved through the project and what the further aims are in the pro­vince and Africa.

The Giving Sight to Africa project is fully funded by the international bank through its global Seeing is Believing campaign, and so far two million people’s sight has been restored in various countries around the world.

In KZN, almost 220 000 patients with eye problems have been exa­mined through the project, and hundreds of nurses have been trained in optometric and optometrist equipment at various hospitals in the pro­vince, which have been upgraded.

Meddings said: “It gives me great pleasure to be here today to witness the tangible benefits our partnership is already generating for individuals across KwaZulu-Natal. Blindness and visual impairment are key issues affecting the educational and economic potential of individuals, their families and their ability to work.”

He said this unique partnership looks forward to extending effective eye care services and improving the lives of individuals throughout the province.

Naidoo said that, in the near future, the project will be handed over to the Health Department to run so that eye care services can eventually be delivered at a district hospital level.

Dhlomo said that the partnership, which is expected to be up next year, will no doubt be renewed.

However, Dhlomo urged Standard Chartered Bank and the ICEE to roll out the project to other African countries.

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