An eye hospital for the marginalised people | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 29, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 29, 2018

An eye hospital for the marginalised people

Standard Chartered Bank is collaborating with Friendship to perform 400 eye-cataract surgeries for people in the remote coastal areas of Bangladesh for the marginalised population who otherwise would not have any opportunity for the cure from mostly the preventable types of blindness.

To facilitate this, five camps were set up in the area utilising Friendship’s floating hospital, the Rongdhonu Friendship Hospital (RFH). In the meantime camps have been completed in Kuakata (Patuakhali), Mongla and Chalna (Khulna) and Hatiya (Noakhali). Now the current one is in Kutubdia (Cox's Bazar).

Johra Khatun (72), could not see for several years. Earlier, on Friendship's ship, her operation was supposed to take place, but she was too scared to go through with it. Now she feels a lot braver, after the operation on the left eye. Though there is still a little pain, it is okay now. When the next ship arrives, the right eye operation will also be done.

Ahmed Noor (85), could not see through either eye, because of cataract problems. Kutubdia does not have the facilities for an operation, and he would not be able to get treatment in Cox's Bazar either. Last year, he had a cataract surgery on his right eye, and since then has had absolutely clear eyesight. Now, he does not need any help to get around or go to the bathroom anymore. He has now come for the operation on the left eye.

Hasina Khatun (32), could not use either of her eyes, and as a result could not work in the family for the last two years. Her 9-year-old little girl has to do everything around the house. This was causing a lot of problems at home. After the local representatives of Friendship went for a visit, she had decided to come in for a cataract surgery today. Hasina Khatun believes that the eye surgery will give her peace and happiness towards her daily life.

There are many more examples like these successful cases. Friendship hospital brought the smile on the faces of these marginalised people.

This year Standard Chartered is celebrating 15th year of their ”Seeing is Believing” project, which has helped 150 million people in 36 countries starting from 2003. About 400 cataract surgeries are going to be operated on Friendship's floating Rongdhonu Friendship Hospital. After starting operation in 2013, the Rongdhonu Friendship Hospital has provided healthcare to more than 165,000 marginalized people.

Standard Chartered Bank's corporate affairs chief Bitopi Das Chowdhury said, "Rongdhonu’s staff have created a unique example by working to avoid a major public health issue, and Standard Chartered has been helping the blind people in 36 countries since 2003. I'm happy to be part of this project."

She added, "Seeing is Believing is our flagship programme, starting with the first cataract operation in 2005. In the last 15 years, 150 million people have benefited from this and since then 60,000 have had operations. This project is related to the capacity building. Banking and health are working alongside as well. Friendship understands this and has the opportunity to build capacity through their efforts."

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