Yuddha Sapkota IAPB South-East Asia Regional Coordinator IAPB
Orbis International was recently felicitated for its role in transforming pediatric eye care services in Nepal.
Honorable Health minister Mr Birodh Khatiwada felicitated Orbis on NNJS establishment day on March 28, 2022.
After the felicitation the Country Director, Orbis India Dr Rishi Raj Borah stated that: We’re ecstatic to announce that Shri. Birodh Khatiwada, Minister of Health and Population, Government of Nepal, felicitated Orbis for its exemplary contribution to eye care and enabling a transformative shift in pediatric ophthalmology in Nepal.
The recognition was presented at the 44th Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) Day. Noting the contribution of Orbis International, he said, “The reduction in blindness has been made possible thanks to the unwavering support of Nepalese NGOs and civil society, particularly Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh, and Orbis’s 360-degree support, which includes infrastructure strengthening, equipping Nepalese eye care teams with adequate skills, and developing training centres to ensure sustainability. Orbis contribution in putting pediatric ophthalmology at the core of care is unrivalled. It is one of the few organisations that has assisted Nepal in improving paediatric eye care”
An IAPB member – Orbis is a non-profit global development organization whose mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local partners in their efforts to prevent and treat blindness. Through the Childhood Blindness Initiative, Orbis is working with the not-for-profit eye care sector to establish well-equipped Children’s Eye Centers across the globe with a particular emphasis on under-served rural areas.
Orbis began its sight-saving initiatives in Nepal in 1985 through on-board surgical training programs with its DC-8 aircraft. Orbis also had commissioned a national survey in Nepal in the year 2007 to identify gaps in the current availability of infrastructure and trained human resources related to pediatric eye care services. The survey revealed that, there were a total of 6 trained pediatric ophthalmologists in Nepal, one trained pediatric ophthalmologist for every 4.3 million population. However, there were no pediatric eye care oriented ophthalmologists and team in the country, though many other ophthalmologists regularly attended to pediatric clients.
In the year 2010, Orbis had conceptualized a national pediatric eye care program to establish seven additional pediatric eye care service center across Nepal.
Orbis supported Nepal for more than a decade transforming the nature of pediatric eye care services in Nepal. This happened by piggybacking on a system of established secondary and tertiary eye care centers of the Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh, an umbrella NGO of eye hospitals having the support of the Government of Nepal. Tilganga Eye Institute at Kathmandu with its favorable geographical location, robust/enterprising leadership and relatively developed subspecialty care also helped. The network of 141 primary eye care centers located in the 77 districts of Nepal added as a feeder to the secondary eye centers and helped screen children with visual impairment and direct them to secondary and tertiary centers where general anesthesia facilities are available.
A very well deserved recognition for Orbis!
As part of Focus on Child Eye Health, piece on Orbis’s work in Nepal. Focus on Child Eye Health engages some of the world’s best and brightest thought leaders throughout the year to share knowledge, inspire action, discuss ideas and push Child Eye Health to the forefront of pressing development issues. It is supported by CooperVision.
Image on top: A pupil has her sight tested during a Orbis supported school screening in Birtamode, Nepal/Louis Leeson