Seeing is believing

KATHMANDU: More than 45 million people around the world are thought to be blind, the majority living in the developing world. The real tragedy is that some 80 per cent of this blindness is estimated to be avoidable or treatable.

In Nepal there are estimated to be 185,000 blind people and over 135,000 of these are blind due to cataract and the staggering fact is that 80 per cent of this blindness is easily avoidable or curable by simple eye care and cataract operation. However, there are many who go blind because they cannot afford the cataract surgery and also the unavailability of eye care services in their areas.

To help these really needy people, in 2003 Standard Chartered Group launched ‘Seeing is Believing’, one of the major global community initiatives under its ‘Believing in Life’ campaign.

A walkathon was conducted successfully by Standard Chartered Bank Nepal in September this year in partnership with its stakeholders-staff, customers and vendors to raise funds and to increase awareness amongst the public on the subject of blindness and an effort to reduce stigma and encourage the visually-challenged people.

With some of the funds that were raised from this walkathon, 600 intra ocular lenses were sponsored for cataract operations conducted at a free eye camp held this month for needy people living in villages in and around Duhabi by Tilganga Eye Centre, Kathmandu, and Ramlal Golcha Eye hospital, Biratnagar.

This camp was held at Lunkaran Das Chaudhary Charity Hospital and a government school at Duhabi. About 2700 people received free screening and medication at this camp. The staff of the Bank’s Biratnagar branch participated in the camp by spen-ding some time and hel-ping the patients.