The club’s guest speaker on 7th November was Martin Wyatt from the Rotary Club of Ashford, Kent. Martin spoke about a charity formed in 1998 by Guildford Rotarian, Dr Sam Das MBE. Dr Das, a former eye surgeon and consultant ophthalmic consultant at the local Royal Surrey Infirmary, had the ambition to provide one million cataract operations to people in undeveloped countries who would otherwise have no access to the treatment. It is estimated that there are up to 650 million individuals worldwide who are too poor to access solutions to a variety of sight problems. Within that number are nearly 50 million people in need of surgical procedures, typically cataract operations. These are known as the avoidably blind; 1.8 million live on the Indian sub-continent. The main causes are poor, diet, genetic issues, education, water quality and sanitation.
Global Sight Solutions operates an equal funding partnership between itself,other donors in the areas of need and Rotary Foundation, partnerships which can see a UK donation increased sevenfold. A donation of £5 will provide a cataract operation! The partner is expected to find a building for the eye hospital and maintain all the medical units so communities have access to a 24/7 service. They are expected to become self-funding and become independent of donations; sources of income may be from private patients, the establishment of pharmacies, optical shops and well-man clinics. All eye conditions can be assessed but the main focus is on avoidable blindness such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy.
GlobalSightSolutions provides training for eye surgeons, microscopes and laser equipment, “eye buses” to transport patients from remoter areas, eye screening camps and ophthalmic procedures. Like all charities, GlobalSightSolutions needs funds; the charity wants to expand its work with accelerated surgeon training, streamlining the acquisition of property, the purchase of new instruments and equipment and more eye buses. It also wants to expand its operations to the Middle East Bangladesh and Sub Saharan Africa.