India, October 8, 2020 – On World Sight Day, Standard Chartered Bank, India, announced that it will open 200 vision centres over the next two years keeping with one of the Bank’s sustainability objective of tackling avoidable blindness and visual impairment. These vision centres, which will offer eye care services, will be set up with leading partners operating in this segment, across eight States under the ‘Seeing is Believing’ initiative.
This will include 58 futuristic vision centres which will help strengthen the teleophthalmology system and clinical evaluation; aid early detection of complex condition; and reduce referral travel, thus bridging the geographic gap between primary and tertiary care. Some of these vision centres will focus on disability-inclusive rehabilitation services – which means that people with disabilities will be referred for medical, livelihood or education support as required. The Bank will also be engaging with several community-based organisations for delivering comprehensive, equitable and sustainable eye health services especially for women who generally bear a heavier burden of avoidable blindness.
In the first batch, 90 vision centres including 14 futuristic vision centres, will be launched by the end of December 2020 in partnership with L V Prasad, CBM India, Sightsavers India, Dr Shroff’s Charitable Eye Hospital, Sewa Sadan Eye Hospital, Mission for Vision, C.L. Gupta and Alakh Nayan Mandir in the Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is ‘Hope in Sight’ as more than a billion people globally cannot see well, because they do not have access to glasses. Over three out of four of the world’s vision-impaired are avoidably so. ‘Seeing is Believing’ is focussed on managing this concern of avoidable blindness in India especially in locations which are remote and difficult to access and have people who financially are in the lower-income group.
Zarin Daruwala, CEO, India, Standard Chartered Bank, said, “Since FY2018-19, the Bank has made substantial investment across 13 projects and 10 partners in the Seeing is Believing by Standard Chartered programme. This investment is expected to reach 6.8 million people, conduct 200,000 cataract operations, distribute 672,000 spectacles, carry out over 16,000 sub-speciality surgeries and declare over 3,000 villages blindness-free through these over 200 new vision centres.
Additionally, through ‘Seeing is Believing’, career academies set up with L V Prasad Eye Institute and Dr Shroff’s Charitable Eye Hospital, over 50,000 youth from the underprivileged areas will get trained through online and classroom sessions for various roles in the eye health sector – including vision technicians and ophthalmic nurse assistants. This will build capability and capacity while providing livelihood opportunities.”
So far, the Bank has opened 135 vision centres across 22 States and have conducted 2.36 million cataract surgeries and dispensed close to 1,97,000 spectacles; overall benefitting close to 14 million people since the inception of ‘Seeing is Believing’ in 2003.