The first of three new world-class eye banks through an Eversight collaboration with Pakistani medical professionals and vision health organizations has opened at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan—a project years in the making.
Pakistan President Arif Alvi attended the eye bank inauguration at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital and said, “This eye bank will prove to be a revolutionary step in returning eyesight to those who deserve it the most.”
Collin Ross, Vice President, and Erik Hellier, Director, Global Development, Eversight, represented Eversight at the inauguration.
Ross, who has more than 20 years of experience running clinical and administrative facilities, is leading Eversight’s efforts alongside Pakistan’s top medical institutions to expand the country’s capacity for providing sight-restoring transplants to those in need.
“We are so excited to reach this landmark moment and look forward to continuing to transform the future for the blind and vision-impaired in Pakistan,” said Ross, who received a Distinguished Service Award from the Cornea Association of Pakistan last year. “The direct impact this new eye bank will have on thousands of families is profound.”
As many as two million people are blind due to a variety of eye diseases in Pakistan, and an estimated 250,000 are suffering with corneal blindness. The driving causes are genetic and environmental and exacerbated by poverty in the region.
Yet every dollar spent on improving eye health in underdeveloped areas generates a fourfold return on investment, according to the World Health Organization.
The new state-of-the-art, fully functional eye bank at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital is staffed and managed by local professionals who are relying on Eversight clinical best practices. Three more eye banking facilities, each with the capability to evaluate, prepare and distribute locally donated corneal tissue, are under construction, and they will be completed by the end of 2019.
Together, the eye banks are part of a sustainable solution to assist a vast underserved region.
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About Eversight: Eversight is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Our network of community eye banks are responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation. For more information, visit eversightvision.org.