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Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps

by Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Himalayan Cataract Project: Remote Eye Camps
Bhutan Outreach 2020
Bhutan Outreach 2020

Thanks to so many of you, Himalayan Cataract Project is able to support our partners in Bhutan as they resume eye care and surgical outreach.

As with most of the countries where HCP works, Bhutan suspended all but emergency eye care at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant thousands of Bhutanese waiting to regain their sight had to wait even longer.

By virtue of its isolation, Bhutan has had a low incidence of COVID-19 cases and has had no virus-related deaths. With safety precautions in place, our partners in Bhutan are resuming cataract surgeries slowly and carefully, attending to patients in smaller numbers to reduce the risk of infection to patients and providers.

Two outreaches were held simultaneously during the second week in June:

---Tsirang Hospital (central Bhutan - 41 Total Surgeries)
---Lhuentse Hospital (eastern Bhutan - 16 total surgeries)

Because of you, 57 grateful people may now resume their lives, work and care for their families free of the burden of blindness. Many more will follow. Additional outreach events at Trongsa Hospital and Tashigang will take place in July, and in Phuntsholing later this year.

It is the goal of our partners in Bhutan that all 20 districts in the country will have an eye camp providing cataract surgical services by December. They anticipate completing 760cataract surgeries over 13 outreach events by the end of 2020.

You provide hope to so many needlessly blind people waiting to regain their sight. Thank you for your commitment to the people of Bhutan, and for empowering our partners to adapt and succeed in a changing global healthcare landscape.


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The 16-bed facility will offer specialized eye care services to the entire country

On October 29, HCP Co-Founders, Dr. Geoff Tabin, Dr. Sanduk Ruit and CEO, Job Heintz attended the inauguration of the Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck National Eye Centre - the new eye hospital in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, on the eastern edge of the Himalayas. The hospital was inaugurated by Her Majesty Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, the Queen Grandmother of Bhutan.

Made possible by a magnanimous gift from WEN Giving, the 16-bed tertiary hospital will offer a variety of specialized in-patient and out-patient eye care services with three operating theaters that will tend to the population of the entire country, a total of almost 1 million people.

The new hospital is a collaboration between HCP, Dr. Sanduk Ruit and the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, the Royal Government of Bhutan and WEN Giving. In addition to serving the entire country, the hospital will also provide clinical training for eye care providers to further strengthen the national eye care system of Bhutan.

The Himalayan Cataract Project has worked in Bhutan since 2000. At that time, Dr. Getshen was the only ophthalmologist in the country. With early support from generous donor, HCP partnered with the Royal Government to develop a national eye health care program. Over the past two decades, HCP has supported specialized training for all eight practicing ophthalmologists and dozens of paramedical staff and provided support for outreach services throughout the rural and mountainous regions.

HCP is thrilled to be a part of this historic achievement and looks forward to taking another step to end needless blindness across the world.

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Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology now offers laser-assisted surgery for cataracts:

Himalayan Cataract Project is one of two Signature Initiatives supported by Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&JV). As part of its corporate and social responsibility program, J&JV recently donated a Catalys laser to HCP that was installed at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, a World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, and HCP’s flagship partner.

In August, a training consultant from J&JV traveled to Nepal to train a select group of Tilganga ophthalmologists to remove cataracts using the Catalys laser. Eleven senior physicians were trained and certified to use the system, including both the Founder of Tilganga, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, and Tilganga's CEO, Dr. Reeta Gurung. Tilganga is the first location in Nepal and the wider Asian region to be able to perform femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery using the Johnson & Johnson Vision Catalys Laser. This cutting edge technology continues to bolster Tilganga’s ophthalmic expertise as a leading Center of Excellence in the Himalayan region.

The excitement and momentum around the training were tremendous, prompting great interest from an additional cadre of 10-12 ophthalmologists at Tilganga in also becoming certified to use the Catalys.


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Meet Khadga, an 80 year old man who received sight-restoring surgery at a cataract outreach event in Ramechhap Nepal, organized by the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology with support from the Himalayan Cataract Project. Accompanied by his only son, Khadga traveled three hours on a very bumpy road to Ramechhap initially for a foot injury. Unbeknownst to Khadga, who was blind in both eyes from cataracts, and his son, a cataract outreach event was happening at the hospital simultaneously.

Blind for the past six years, Khadga was elated to hear he could have his sight restored saying, “how soon can we do it, this would change my life in so many ways.” Due to his blindness and foot injury, Khadga said he had sat in a room in complete darkness for about six months - trapped by his blindness.

When asked what he was looking forward to most Khadga said, “I could do everything again! I would be independent and my family would be unburdened. I could go outside again, and I can’t wait to see my family and my village in the sunshine again.”

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This Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) cataract outreach in Nepal provided surgery to over 546 people in a rural area in Sisaut, Nepal. A team from HCP flagship partner, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology managed the outreach in the Sarlahi District village in the Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal. This outreach marks the first high-volume outreach of the year, in addition, an outreach in Ethiopia was held simultaneously by our partners at Woldia Hospital who performed 261 surgeries. 

Based in Kathmandu, Tilganga is led by Himalayan Cataract Project Co-Founder Dr. Sanduk Ruit, and serves as the Himalayan Cataract Project’s (HCP) base of operations in Asia. While the center operates independently, HCP is closely involved in Tilganga’s infrastructure, outreach and educational programs. 

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Organization Information

Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.

Location: Waterbury, VT - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CureBlindness
Project Leader:
Geoff Tabin
Waterbury, VT United States
$81,400 raised of $100,000 goal
949 donations
$18,600 to go
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