The Qatar Fund for Development announced the expansion of “Qatar Creating Vision” initiative in India and Bangladesh to include Rohingya children in South East of Bangladesh. The initiative will provide additional eye tests and treatment for 50,000 children in need of eye care.
This followed a high-level meeting between H.E. Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al Kuwari, Director General of QFFD and Her Royal Highness, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, who has been an engaged supporter of the initiative since its conception.
Her Royal Highness, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex said, “I would like to extend my deep thanks to the State of Qatar and Qatar Fund for Development for their vital support that they have given to children, as part of the Qatar Creating Vision initiative.”
Through the initiative, nearly 2.4 million eye tests were provided to children through school screenings, to identify children who have vision problems. In addition, 27,000 training sessions have been organized for doctors, teachers and community workers.
For its part, the Qatar Fund for Development commended the ongoing efforts of Orbis and other implementers of the initiative. The eye screenings were conducted in 19 local hospitals (11 in India and 8 in Bangladesh), then the visually impaired children were provided with eyeglasses, while the complicated cases were referred to the concerned authority.
Mr. Al Kuwari said “We are delighted that the initiative will be expanded. We know that eye care is very important for children who are suffering from vision problems and do not have access to this care.”
Qatar Creating Vision initiative aims at identifying the students who are forced to abandon their studies due to vision problems in order to provide them with the medical care needed to improve their health conditions.
The Countess of Wessex, who has been an engaged supporter of the initiative since its conception in 2015 said, “As Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), I am aware of the vast numbers of blind and visually impaired people across the world whose lives might be very different if they could have access to treatment.” She continued to say “Following my recent visit to Bangladesh with Orbis, where I met children whose lives are being transformed by receiving quality eye care, I am delighted by the vital support that Qatar Fund for Development has given. Their vision to expand Qatar Creating Vision initiative to include more children of Rohingya refugees will support more disadvantaged children who need help and will have a significant impact on these young people that will stay with them throughout their lives. Children are missing out on opportunities to learn, to play, to have big dreams and achieve them simply because they don’t have access to a pair of glasses or routine surgery. Qatar Creating Vision is helping to change this and is reaching those desperately in need of help”
Dr Robert Walters, Orbis Envoy to the Middle East, said, “For many, obtaining treatment for eye conditions can be very expensive or may be too far away to reach. Shockingly, 60% of blind children will die during their childhood because they do not have access to health care.”
Further to this, Dr. Walters also stated that “Providing access to eye health services is vital; without early intervention many children are forced to give up their education, which can lead to isolation and a lifetime of poverty. With the help of the Qatar Fund for Development, we are working towards a brighter future for generations to come,” he added.
Executive Director of Development Projects Department, Misfer al Shahwani said that Qatar has a long-standing commitment to drive forward a wide range of initiatives that will strengthen healthcare provision both in Qatar and throughout the world. He added that many people are not aware of the threat of vision problems on children particularly in economically disadvantaged or remote areas.
“Qatar Creating Vision initiative has provided almost 2.4 million eye tests to children in India and Bangladesh in one and a half years, improving children’s access to education. We are proud of these achievements and the long-term effects of this initiative as well as our contribution to the prevention and treatment of eye blindness.”
For more information on Qatar Creating Vision Initiative and Princess Sophie’s trip, the Countess of Wessex, please visit: www.qatarcreatingvision.org
About Qatar Creating Vision Initiative:
Qatar Creating Vision is a brand new initiative, supported by the Qatar Fund for Development, which will provide 5.5 million eye screenings and treatments to children in India and Bangladesh over the next four years.
The initiative is being implemented by many charities including Orbis, Sightsavers, BRAC as well as 19 hospitals that provide eye care services to the children (11 in India and 8 in Bangladesh).
These charities provide eye tests and treatments to children across the two countries and the visually impaired children will be provided with eyeglasses. They also educate communities about blindness remarks.
Qatar Creating Vision gets children back to school and on their way to a future full of possibilities.