Visionary Programme Delivers One Million Reasons to See a Better Future

By International Centre For Eyecare Education, PRNE
Thursday, July 7, 2011

DRAKENSBERG, South Africa, July 8, 2011 -

In KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the one millionth patient recently
received an eye exam and the eye care they need thanks to an
innovative programme initiative of partners; the International
Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), Standard Chartered Bank,
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and Optometry Giving Sight. The
announcement of the milestone was heard last night by Department of
Health representatives and local non-government organisations
attending a conference in Drakensberg.

The Giving Sight to KwaZulu-Natal programme is a visionary
effort and example of the power of public-private partnerships. The
target of reaching one million patients in KZN started in July 2007
to provide accessible eye care services to communities throughout
the province using the existing public health system. The ultimate
goal is already achieved - the programme now paves the way for
ongoing eye care services in the public health system that will
serve millions more long after the initial programme has

MEC of Health in KZN, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, was present for the
announcement. “This is another great achievement for all South
Africans,” he said. “If, in KZN, we can deliver eye care services
to those most in need then surely we can also provide this service
in other provinces.” He added, “Without an eye examination and the
right treatment or correction, individuals and their families are
more likely to fall out of employment or education. The obvious
cost is not just to the family, but further, to the community where
lack of education and employment then creates the downward spiral
to economic instability. The Department of Health is proud of the
partnership with ICEE, Standard Chartered Bank and Optometry Giving
Sight and the achievements so far, and ready to continue this work
to bring eye care services to KZN”.

Delivering the news was Global Programme Director for ICEE,
Professor Kovin Naidoo, who said, “The programme began with an idea
that if we could dramatically expand eye care access in KZN we
would have a sustainable model that could be rolled out across
Africa, wherever there is a health care system in operation. As we
developed the programme, we knew we would have to up-scale the
infrastructure of the system and up-skill the existing human
resources to allow for expansion. I’m pleased to announce that
today, KZN has 127 eye clinics in public facilities, 55 sites have
more equipment, and Primary Health Care Nurses, Ophthalmic Nurses
and Optometrists have been employed or trained to take on the new
demand for services.”

He concluded, “This is more than just a milestone for eye care,
it is a pathway for all who aspire to development of new health
care services in existing systems throughout Africa. If we can do
this in KZN, we can do it elsewhere, but only with the right
support of government and health care systems and partners like our
friends at Standard Chartered Bank and Optometry Giving Sight.”

“The achievement of such a fantastic milestone will be
celebrated by eye care professionals throughout the world,” said
Clive Miller, CEO of Optometry Giving Sight. “This programme is a
perfect example of how government and non-government organisations
can partner together to develop and implement sustainable vision
care outcomes for people in need. I know that I speak on behalf of
our donors and sponsors throughout the world when I say; Optometry
Giving Sight is proud to have had the opportunity to be a funding
partner for this project.”

Standard Chartered Bank Head of Corporate Affairs for South
, Lauren Callie, has witnessed the growth and progress of
this project since attending the launch on World Sight Day in 2007.
“Giving Sight to KZN is a sustainable program which has established
a robust structure to deliver eye care benefits to individuals
across KZN for many years to come,” she said. “Standard Chartered
proudly sponsored the ‘Giving Sight to KZN’ partner programme via
our ‘Seeing is Believing’ fund - the Bank’s global initiative to
tackle avoidable blindness. We are delighted to celebrate this
significant milestone in achieving our original target to bring eye
care services to one million individuals across KZN.”

She added, “The successful outcomes of this project would not
have been achieved without the collaborative effort and
determination of all the partners involved. Together we have made a
difference in the lives of individuals, reiterating Standard
Chartered’s brand promise of being ‘Here for good.’”

In addition the programme has generated further sustainable

940 - Nurses based at clinics have received basic equipment and
training to provide primary eye care services
49 - Primary Health Care Nurse Educators have attended primary eye
care training
30 - Optometrists employed by the province (increased from
127 - Eye clinic sites where optometry services are now available
in the province (49 at the start of the project)
22 - Optometrists attended continuous professional development
38 - Ophthalmic nurses received equipment
17 - Optometry clinics supplied with equipment

There are a million stories where an eye exam has been life
changing. Watch Chantal, Phindile and Bright’s story here: href="">

For more information please contact:
Kerry-Anne Phillips  
Cellular:   + 27 782 846 814
Images: Professor Naidoo at RK Khan Hospital Durban and
Optometrist, Fatima Hoosen also in Durban available at: href="">


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