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The Edinburghs

The Countess of Wessex sees legacy of Diamond Jubilee on visit to Malawi

Sophie, Countess of Wessex

The Countess of Wessex is in Malawi to see the impact of work done in Queen Elizabeth II’s name.

World Sight Day is on 13 October, and Sophie will be in Malawi to participate in the yearly national celebrations. Her Royal Highness will meet patients who have been helped by eye-saving treatments and visit a local clinic to hear more about the latest eye treatments and surgeries. 

Ten years ago, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust was created to help end avoidable blindness in Commonwealth countries. The Countess of Wessex was its Vice Patron. The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust supported organisations that work to prevent blindness and provide antibiotics, surgeries and treatments to stop eye problems. The last time Her Royal Highness was in Malawi to see the work of the trust was in 2017.

Trachoma is the leading cause of infectious blindness. This month, the World Health Organisation announced Malawi is the first country in Southern Africa to eliminate trachoma. The Sightsavers’ Trachoma Initiative was supported by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and worked with the Malawi Ministry of Health to achieve this goal. Part of the Countess’s visit will include celebrating the achievement. 

Before going to Malawi, Sophie also went to Botswana to see first-hand the work of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Trust. The government offers a first-of-its-kind program, “Pono Yame” or “My Vision.”

It uses Peek Vision tools, which is a technology funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Trust. It allows all school children vision screenings and treatments.

The Countess of Wessex commented on the program: “I am extremely proud that the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Trust played a vital part in funding the early testing of this amazing programme. Her Late Majesty placed eyesight at the forefront of the work of the trust, working across the Commonwealth.”

As planned, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust ended in 2020. However, that has not stopped Her Royal Highness from working to help eliminate blindness.

For twenty years, Sophie has served as the Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. In 2020, Queen Elizabeth II and the Countess of Wessex hosted a video conference with eye health professionals throughout the Commonwealth to learn more about their work.

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