20 Feb 2012, Dhaka. Leading British Bangladesh business and community leaders visited Sylhet this month to see for themselves the incredible progress of the highly successful Vision Bangladesh programme – a joint initiative between BRAC and Sightsavers that aims to eradicate cataract blindness across the whole of Sylhet Division by the end of next year.
The programme is well on track to achieving this goal – having exceeded targets in 2011 and setting the standard across the country for large scale reduction of blindness in poor communities.
All members of the UK delegation have been active fundraisers and supporters for the programme; raising funds through their restaurants and businesses, making personal donations, and promoting the project through the Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK.
Mr. Monchab Ali, JP, Senior Adviser to the Vision Bangladesh National Committee, Proprietor of Bengal Dynasty Restaurants and long time supporter of the project was very moved by the experience:
“It is a great thing to see what people have donated towards to help poor patients who couldn’t pay themselves for such a life transforming operation.”
Dr. Musharraf Hussain, President of the Bangladesh Medical Association, UK, and supporter of Vision Bangladesh said:
“The surgeon and the whole team were extremely professional and competent. The infection rate is effectively zero because of the advanced self-sealing technique they use. It is very impressive.”
The group saw all the stages of the process from the outreach work in remote villages to reach the most isolated blind patients to an actual cataract operation at VARD eye hospital, Balanganj. The whole process is extremely quick with patients taken directly from screening camps to the hospital and back at home following successful surgery within 36 hours of diagnosis.