The club’s guest speaker on1 November 2023 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 who 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.
The charity is a 100% Rotary project which is supported across the world. Global Sight Solutions operates in partnership with a local Rotary club that takes responsibility for providing permanent local eye hospital facilities which, unlike temporary camps, give communities a 24/7 service into the future. There is an equal funding partnership between itself, other donors in the areas of need and Rotary Foundation. 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.
Global Sight Solutions provides training for eye surgeons, microscopes and laser equipment, “eye buses” to transport patients from remoter areas, eye screening camps and ophthalmic procedures. Since the charity started over 10million eye tests have been carried out and 1million cataract operations performed.
Like all charities, Global Sight Solutions 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. Looking to the future, 16 Rotary Global Grants are currently in progress for areas in Assam, Patna, South Kolkata and Islamabad. There are also possible projects in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia. The process of obtaining a global grant can increase a club contribution by up to six fold, thus a donation of £5 will provide a cataract operation.
For more information have a look at the web-site www.globalsightsolutions.org
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