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Standard Chartered celebrates World Sight Day by Donating Chairs to the Western Area Eye Clinic

Standard Chartered celebrates World Sight Day by Donating Chairs to the Western Area Eye Clinic

Freetown, Friday October 19 – To mark World Sight Day 2012, Standard Chartered Sierra Leone has donated comfortable chairs to the Western Area Eye Clinic to facilitate the sitting of in-patients, and members of the public coming into the clinic for consultation.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually in October to raise awareness of visual impairment. Commenting on the donation, Kumba Ngongou, Country Seeing is Believing Coordinator, said, “We are immensely proud of what we are doing through our Seeing is Believing initiative.  Our staff are the key to its continued success.  Behind each new doctor trained, each eye-care ward built and each sight saved through the programme, stands the united effort of our staff, and our valued stakeholders. This year, the aim of the Bank and its Sight partners is to raise USD2, 500 to support Eye Care in Sierra Leone.”

The global economic cost of blindness is estimated to be US$200 billion per year. Across the globe, 39 million people are blind and 246 million people suffer from visual impairment. With 90% of avoidable blindness occurring in the developing world, it is an issue which is of particular resonance in many markets where Standard Chartered operates.

Yet 80% of blindness and visual impairment is avoidable (preventable or curable) and treatments are simple and cost-effective. For example, a cataract operation with restores sight only costs US$30. As a result, 20 million people have had their sight saved since 1999. To continue this momentum, Standard Chartered has committed to raise US$100 million by 2020 through Seeing is Believing – its global charitable initiative run in partnership with the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

Seeing is Believing helps to fund leading eye care organisations to deliver training projects for doctors and health workers, and develop eye care infrastructure and support services for the poor. To date, Seeing is Believing has invested US$37 million in projects to restore sight, prevent blindness and educate communities about the importance of eye care, reaching up to 31 million people. Seeing is Believing has contributed to restoring the sight of over 2.8 million people.

Jeanette McKenna, Head of Seeing is Believing at Standard Chartered Group, said: “There is a lot that remains to be done to eliminate avoidable blindness and individual organisations like Standard Chartered can only be part of the solution. Coordinated action from governments, NGOs and the private sector is required to eradicate blindness by 2020. We hope that through Seeing is Believing, we can raise awareness of the issue in our markets and amongst our stakeholders. Through our staff, resources and client network we hope to raise new investment for the campaign, and World Sight Day provides an excellent opportunity to draw attention to the initiative.”

Funds raised through Seeing is Believing are channelled into projects aligned with ‘VISION2020: The Right to Sight’, a global campaign to tackle avoidable blindness. The aim of VISION2020 is simple and ambitious, namely to eliminate all forms of avoidable blindness by the year 2020.

Thanking the Bank for the kind donation, Mr. Matthew Vandy, National Eye Care Programme Manager, Mr. Foday Musa, Connaught Hospital Manager and Mrs. Nancy Smart, Country Director SightSavers International lauded Standard Chartered Bank for the good gesture.

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