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4 institutions from Nepal win the 2013 edition of the António Champalimaud Vision Award

Lisbon, September 4th 2013 The 2013 Antnio Champalimaud Vision Award recognises the humanitarian and clinical work of four Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from Nepal. These institutions have fought for a long time against the grave problem of vision disorders in a country where this issue are a social catastrophe.

Nepal is a country which faces huge social challenges, among which is the suffering caused by eyesight disorders and blindness.

The first programme to combat eyesight disorders was launched in the early 80's, after a pioneering study was carried out that highlighted the scale of the problem. A plan to combat blindness was duly created and, with the extraordinary efforts of the four institutions recognised here, has now been running for more than two decades.

The 2013 Antnio Champalimaud Vision Award will help to continue the outstanding work carried out by these four institutions, helping to create and develop programmes to train up technicians who might subsequently operate on cataracts, which are responsible for more than 70% of the cases of blindness, and so make a critical contribution towards eliminating avoidable blindness in Nepal.

About the Winners

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology serves the Kathmandu Valley region and also populations that live in remote and mountainous regions of Nepal. Created in 1992 to carry out the Nepal Eye Programme, Tilganga's aim was to be a model for investigation, treatment and the training of professionals in the area of the prevention and treatment of eyesight problems. It currently has a clinic that can provide the most advanced services to ophthalmologic patients; it has an education and training department; a unit which manages the various centres and small clinics scattered among the rural community of Nepal and neighbouring countries; an ophthalmologic bank to provide corneas for transplant and to make the population aware of the need for donors; a factory of material necessary to perform the most advanced operations on cataracts; and also a research unit.

Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) was set up in 1980 with the aim of executing and coordinating a programme to combat eyesight-related problems in the country. Since then it has played a fundamental role in the orientation and coordination of 14 hospitals and 60 treatment centres spread throughout the Nepalese provinces, articulating all the prevention work and the provision of healthcare.

The Eastern Regional Eye Care Programme is a treatment programme which, in cooperation with NNJS and with a combination of two ophthalmologic hospitals, Sagarmatha Choudhary Eye Hospital (Lahan) and Biratnagar Eye Hospital, and their 7 satellite clinics, offers high quality services to the populations of the eastern region of the country. The Sagarmatha Choudhary Eye Hospital (SCEH) started out in 1983 as a small eye care unit with 12 beds, and currently has more than 400 beds and 5 satellite clinics. Since it was created in 2006 the Biratnagar Eye Hospital (BEH) has grown to its current 450 beds, geared towards providing high quality ophthalmologic services to the poorest sectors of the population of Nepal.

The Lumbini Eye Institute, in cooperation with NNJS, operates in the central and western region of Terai. Created in 1983, this institute, which started out as a small clinic with only two rooms, one doctor and a staff of three, is currently one of the most successful cases among the ophthalmologic centres of Nepal. With 215 beds, this hospital performs between 75 and 170 different types of eye surgery every day.


Contact: Vitor Cunha
Champalimaud Foundation

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