Today (28th March) The Countess of Wessex as Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust hosted a special reception at St. James’s Palace to celebrate the achievements of global eye health leaders in their efforts to bring vision to everyone, everywhere. 170+ eye experts from around the Commonwealth attended the event to celebrate their work.
The Queen, as Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, sent a message to those at the reception, which was delivered by The Countess.
I am pleased to welcome you to St James’s Palace as you come together to celebrate the work of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium.
Through collaboration and partnership over the past five years, the Consortium has helped many thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth, and has positively affected the way eye health is delivered.
Without the work and support of each and every partner organisation, this would not have been achieved. Whether you are involved in research and development, the delivery of training, or working as an ophthalmologist, I extend my thanks on behalf of those whose sight you seek to save.
I wish you all an enjoyable and successful meeting.
Afterwards, Dr Simon Arunga, an Ophthalmologist from Uganda, shared how the consortium has helped him and his colleagues develop their eye care services. ‘We are receiving training, working together and learning from each other, so that we can provide better eye care to everyone we serve.’
Today’s reception celebrated the achievements of global eye health leaders like Dr Hillary Rono. You can watch documentary titled “Double Joy” which tells the story of Dr Rono – a Kenyan Ophthalmologist and beneficiary of the Trust’s fellowship programme – who conducts research into the effectiveness of smartphone-based eye care in rural communities in Kenya.
The Countess also met Dr Subhadra Jalali who has saved the sight of 20,000+ babies and counting in India. HRH will meet Dr Jalali again on a visit to Hyderabad at the end of April to see how Ophthalmologists are tackling avoidable blindness there. The Countess will also see the outcome of programmes set up by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in India.
Dr Jalali is instrumental in the delivery of the Trust’s programme to tackle retinopathy of prematurity across India. There’s also a documentary titled “A life with sight” about Dr Jalali. India is home to the highest number of premature births in the world. Two decades ago, as efforts to improve neonatal care accelerated, more and more cases of blindness began to emerge.
Dr Jalali, a world-class ophthalmologist, mother and mentor, has been leading the fight to tackle preventable blindness in premature babies across India. “The Trust is honoured to work with Dr Jalali to ensure that every child born prematurely in India has the chance to see.”
Worldwide 253 million people are blind or visually impaired, yet 80% of these cases could have been avoided. The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium was established in 2015 by the Trust in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to bring quality eye care to those who need it.
Today’s detailed coverage, again courtesy of Royal Family Twitter. The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust shared a press release and details about the event via Twitter – thank you.