On Thursday, The Countess of Wessex hosted a reception at St James’s Palace for the Jubilee Trust. The Vice-Patron took the time to celebrate the achievements of global eye health leaders.
The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium brought together over 170 eye health experts from 27 Commonwealth countries. These specialists are aiming to expand and develop eye health services throughout the Commonwealth.
Since 2015, the Consortium has doubled the number of PhD certified eye doctors in Africa. Over 20,000 people have been given online training in eye health, and over 200,000 school children have used the smart-phone based vision testing tool, Peek.
The Countess gave a speech at the reception praising those in attendance.
“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.”
Earlier this week, the Countess had a chance to see herself how health care experts around the Commonwealth help patients.
Trying her hand at an unexpected new role, the Countess performed simulated cataract surgery on model eyes during her visit to the five-year meeting of The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium.
One healthcare worker the Countess met was Aubrey Mankaka Banda, an Eye Programme Manager from Malawi. Just recently, the country reported that they had removed the risk of trachoma, one of the country’s leading causes of blindness.
Passionate about eye health care, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust spoke out on the Countess’s work: “The Countess of Wessex is passionate about eradicating avoidable blindness and has seen first-hand the different organisations with the right knowledge, experience and funding can make on a global scale.”
Around the world, 253 million people are blind or are visually impaired. 80% of these cases could have been avoided with proper health care.