Times LIVE, a newspaper in Johannesburg, ran an article today reporting that one million people in the KwaZulu-Natal area of South Africa, have received eye care on behalf of ICEE and Optometry Giving Sight. The link is: http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2011/07/07/one-million-people-get-eye-care-exam.

Drakensberg, South Africa. 8 July, 2011: In KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the one millionth patient recently received an eye exam and the eye care they need thanks to an innovative programme initiative of partners; the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), Standard Chartered Bank, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and Optometry Giving Sight. The announcement of the milestone reached was heard last night by Department of Health representatives and local non-government organisations attending a conference in Drakensberg.

The Giving Sight to KwaZulu-Natal programme, as it is known, is a visionary effort and example of the power of public-private partnerships. The target of reaching one million patients in KZN started in July 2007 with the objective of providing accessibility of eye care services to communities throughout the province using the existing public health system. The ultimate goal is already achieved – the programme now paves the way for ongoing eye care services in the public health system that will serve millions more long after the initial programme has concluded.

MEC of Health in KZN, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, was present for the announcement. “This is another great achievement for all South Africans,” he said. “If, in KZN, we can deliver eye care services to those most in need then surely we can also provide this service in other provinces.” He added, “Without an eye examination and the right treatment or correction, individuals and their families are more likely to fall out of employment or education. The obvious cost is not just to the family, but further, to the community where lack of education and employment then creates the downward spiral to economic instability. The Department of Health is proud of the partnership with ICEE, Standard Chartered Bank and Optometry Giving Sight and the achievements so far, and ready to continue this work to bring eye care services to KZN”.

Delivering the news was Global Programme Director for ICEE, Professor Kovin Naidoo, who said, “The programme began with an idea that if we could dramatically expand eye care access in KZN we would have a sustainable model that could be rolled out across Africa, wherever there is a health care system in operation. As we developed the programme, we knew we would have to up-scale the infrastructure of the system and up-skill the existing human resources to allow for expansion. I’m pleased to announce that today, KZN has 127 eye clinics in public facilities, 55 sites have more equipment, and Primary Health Care Nurses, Ophthalmic Nurses and Optometrists have been employed or trained to take on the new demand for services.”

He concluded, “This is more than just a milestone for eye care, it is a pathway for all who aspire to development of new health care services in existing systems throughout Africa. If we can do this in KZN, we can do it elsewhere, but only with the right support of government and health care systems and partners like our friends at Standard Chartered Bank and Optometry Giving Sight.”

“The achievement of such a fantastic milestone will be celebrated by eye care professionals throughout the world,” said Clive Miller, CEO of Optometry Giving Sight. “This programme is a perfect example of how government and non-government organisations can partner together to develop and implement sustainable vision care outcomes for people in need. I know that I speak on behalf of our donors and sponsors throughout the world when I say; Optometry Giving Sight is proud to have had the opportunity to be a funding partner for this project.”

Standard Chartered Bank Head of Corporate Affairs for South Africa, Lauren Callie, has witnessed the growth and progress of this project since attending the launch on World Sight Day in 2007. “Giving Sight to KZN is a sustainable program which has established a robust structure to deliver eye care benefits to individuals across KZN for many years to come,” she said. ”Standard Chartered proudly sponsored the ‘Giving Sight to KZN’ partner programme via our ‘Seeing is Believing’ fund – the Bank’s global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness. We are delighted to celebrate this significant milestone in achieving our original target to bring eye care services to one million individuals across KZN.”

She added, “The successful outcomes of this project would not have been achieved without the collaborative effort and determination of all the partners involved. Together we have made a difference in the lives of individuals, reiterating Standard Chartered’s brand promise of being ‘Here for good.’”

In addition to delivering eye care services to more than 1 million individuals across the province, the Giving Sight to KZN programme has generated further sustainable outcomes:

  • 940 – Nurses based at clinics have received basic equipment and training to provide primary eye care services
  • 49 – Primary Health Care Nurse Educators have attended primary eye care training
  • 30 – The number of Optometrists employed by the province (increased from 14 )
  • 127 – Eye clinic sites where optometry services are now available in the province (49 at the start of the project)
  • 22 – Optometrists have attended continuous professional development course
  • 38 – Ophthalmic nurses have received equipment
  • 17 – Optometry clinics have been supplied with equipment

Case Study

During the course of the programme, beneficiaries of all ages found access to a basic eye exam at their local clinic or community health centre where there were previously no services.

Chantal is one child who is grateful that she had access to an eye exam. At the age of 11, Chantal was having difficulties in the classroom and was moved from the back of the class to the front. “I couldn’t see the board, I couldn’t see what I was doing and what was in front of me,” she said. “I couldn’t see when I was writing and all my work was squashed up.” This not only affected Chantal’s schoolwork but also meant she could not play with her friends in the playground. After an eye exam, it was concluded that Chantal suffered from myopia (near sightedness) and with the help of a pair of glasses she was now able to participate in school again. To watch Chantal, Phindile and Bright ‘s story click here:.http://www.icee.org/videos/index.asp

There are a million stories like Chantal’s where an eye exam has been life changing, leading to increased confidence, productivity and independence.

For more information please contact:

International Centre for Eyecare Education Stephanie O’Connell Cellular: + 61 439 600 312 Images of Professor Naidoo at RK Khan Hospital Durban and Optometrist, Fatima Hoosen also in Durban available for download at: https://www.yousendit.com/download/MFo3TmZZeDNLVld4dnc9PQ


ICEE – International Centre for Eyecare Education

ICEE is a global non-profit, non-governmental organisation. In the last ten years ICEE has delivered sustainable eye care services, education and training programmes in more than 40 countries. ICEE is focused on the elimination of avoidable blindness by developing solutions with communities in need of eye care thereby improving opportunities in education, employment and quality of life. www.icee.org

Standard Chartered – leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East Standard Chartered PLC is a leading international bank, listed on the London, Hong Kong and Mumbai stock exchanges. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world’s most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the bank’s growth in recent years. With 1,700 offices in 70 markets, Standard Chartered offers exciting and challenging international career opportunities for around 85,000 staff. It is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. The Bank’s heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, ‘Here for good’.

AFRICA: Standard Chartered has operated in Africa for over 146 years, where it has over 160 branches in 14 African markets with more than 6,000 staff. By leveraging its unique international footprint, the bank is well-positioned to facilitate valuable trade and investment corridors intra-Africa, and between Africa and the rest of the world.

SOUTH AFRICA: The Bank’s history in South Africa dates back to 1862 from a previous shareholding in Standard Bank of British South Africa. Having divested in 1987, the Bank returned to the country as a representative office in the early nineties before acquiring a full service banking license in July 2003. Today, Standard Chartered South Africa is focused on its successful Wholesale (Corporate) banking strategy, leveraging the bank’s international footprint and expertise to offer SA corporates and multinationals unparalleled support in cross-border capital, investment opportunities, assistance with expansion into new markets and facilitation of strategic partnerships. In addition to the Bank’s lending and financial markets capabilities, the Johannesburg Branch offers regional expertise in Agricultural Finance, Project & Export Finance (Infrastructure, Metals & Mining, Telecoms etc), Private Equity, Transaction Banking and Capital Markets etc. – For more information on Standard Chartered, please visit www.standardchartered.com

Standard Chartered Bank – Seeing is Believing campaign

Seeing is Believing is a Standard Chartered initiative which works with leading eye care agencies to support projects that have an immediate impact on people’s lives and establish sustainable health care for the future. The programme supports VISION 2020 – The Right to Sight, a global collaboration bringing together the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, the World Health Organization and international NGOs to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.

‘Seeing is Believing’ was started by Standard Chartered employees in 2003 as a way of celebrating the Bank’s 150th anniversary. It is the group’s sole fundraising programme. Since 2003, USD 32 million has been raised for eye-care initiatives impacting more than 20 million people, half of which has been donated by Standard Chartered through dollar-for-dollar matching. From 2008, Standard Chartered has committed to help raise USD 20 million by 2012. We’ll match every dollar donated until the target is met. Standard Chartered supports ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’, the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). For more information, on Seeing is Believing visit our website: www.seeingisbelieving.org.uk

Optometry Giving Sight®

Optometry Giving Sight® is the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error – simply the need for an eye examination and glasses. The organization was created in 2003 by the World Council of Optometry, the International Centre for Eyecare Education and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, as a means of mobilizing resources from the global optometric community to fund the development of sustainable eye care projects for people in need. The charity currently funds vision care projects in 18 developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.