‘VISION 2020: the Right to Sight’ an established partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and IAPB ended in 2020.
IAPB celebrated individuals whose vision, drive, commitment contributed to the successful outcomes of the VISION 2020 agenda with the Vision Excellence Awards.
The award recognized over a hundred people whose dedication, leadership, and innovation contributed to its success.
Three veteran ophthalmologists of Nepal were also among them. They were: Dr Ram Prasad Pokhrel, Dr Gopal Prasad Pokharel and Dr Sanduk Ruit.
The Nepal Netrra Jyoti Sangh and Nepal Eye Hospital organized a programme to honour the three in Kathmandu on 22 January. The first President of Nepal – Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who was the Health Minister who endorsed Vision 2020 in the World Health Assembly and in Nepal in 1999 felicitated these personalities.
Dr Ram Prasad Pokhrel: is renowned as the father of eye care services in Nepal. He established Nepal eye Hospital in 1973, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh in 1978 and introduced many international non-government organizations to support eye care services of Nepal. The eye care network of Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh has expanded to 20 Eye Hospitals and 120 primary eye care centres by 2020. NNJS and its network renders more than 80% of the eye care services in the country.
Dr Gopal Prasad Pokhrel: The Founder of Mechi Eye Hospital. Dr Pokharel was instrumental in changing the definition of Blindness which was based on best corrected visual acuity to presenting visual acuity during his tenure in WHO Geneva. The previous definition over-shadowed the visual impairment and blindness due to uncorrected refractive error, which is the biggest cause of visual impairment globally. He is also known for generating evidence by carrying out population-based blindness survey, its compilation and protocol development of the WHO Refractive error study in school children.
Dr Sanduk Ruit: Dr Ruit is a renowned ophthalmologist. He is considered the god of sight in Nepal. He founded the Tilganaga Institute of Ophthalmology, considered one of the best centres of excellence in eye care services in Nepal. He is also famous for innovation of Small Incision Cataract Surgery and expanding cataract surgical service with IOL implantation in rural Nepal. Dr Ruit has extended his services to Bhutan, DPR Korea and many other Asian and African countries.
These three veteran eye doctors of Nepal are deserving recipients of the “Vision Excellence Award”.
Cross-sector collaboration, which enabled public, private and non-profit interests to work together, helping people to see, all over the world contributed to VISION 2020 successes.
- The global age-standardised all-age prevalence of blindness decreased from 0.75% in 1990 to 0.48% in 2015 (60%)
- The global age standardised, all-age prevalence of moderate and severe vision impairment decreased from 3.83% to 2.90%. (Lancet Glob Health 2017; 5: e888–97 Published Online August 2, 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S2214-109X(17)30293-0