Date: Dubai, UAE; July 28, 2020
Choithram International Foundation reveals ‘Gift of Sight’ a moving compilation of stories, figures, analyses and insights, on the festive occasion of Eid al-Adha. The 52-page ‘Gift of Sight’ packs in-depth coverage and on-ground experiences to give a glimpse of how 75% of the visually impaired persons in the world could have their vision restored, given an intervention of goodness and collaboration. A digital copy of ‘Gift of Sight’ in English and Arabic is ready for download from the link www.choithrams.com
Presented with an authentic, first-person commentary, the narration gives readers a chance to shadow a visually impaired village dweller in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The journey of transformation, from darkness to light, from blindness to restored vision, makes for an emotionally charged experience that ‘Gift of Sight’ inspires. The chronicle is a celebration of gift giving, charity, and fellowship, and a testimony of what can be achieved when ‘goodness’ unites the people of India and the UAE.
Mr L.T. Pagarani, Chairman of Dubai’s favorite community-focused retail brand, Choithrams, said, “On behalf of the Choithrams family, we wish our customers, partners and stakeholders Eid Mubarak and take this opportunity to thank each of you, our well-wishers, for your support and encouragement. It enables us to create the ‘Gift of Sight’. I invite you to join us on this journey, read the chronicle, participate with your views, and help us reach many more with the gift of sight. Perhaps the precious gift of them all.”
Offering free surgery and low-cost treatment, Choithram Netralaya restores vision of more than 25,000 people (every year) coming from the rural heartland in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. As part of Choithram International Foundation (CIF), the eye hospital joins several other welfare institutes to provide an ever-expanding ambit of care and commitment towards humanitarian causes in healthcare and education across the globe.
Despite clinical and technological progress, a record number of people are suffering from avoidable blindness. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, it is estimated at least 2.2 billion people in the world have vision impairment. Of those, at least 1 billion cases are avoidable. One-fourth of the world’s blind population, estimated to be around 8 million, live in India. The intervention of Choithram Netralaya in Indore, providing cataract operations and treatments, ensures more than 25,000 persons have their vision restored every year.
The hospital receives international guests and VIPs regularly. Mr. Abdullah abdulwahed Ahmed Mohammed Al-Ali from UAE visited the facility, and was impressed, “Our visit to Choithram Netralaya (CN) during the mega camp in January 2020, opened our eyes. We have a blessed life in Dubai, but there are so many out there who need help. It is great to see an institution like CN devoted to the cause of eliminating avoidable blindness and taking such good care of the needy population. God bless them. May more and more blind people in need have their eyesight restored in the months and years to come. We wish the entire staff and leadership of the Hospital the best.”
‘Gift of Sight’ presents a matter-of-fact and transparent account of operating a wide network of eyecare infrastructure that reaches more than 20 million people in the most remote parts of rural India. This gives readers a chance to familiarize themselves with the challenges and opportunities and play a participatory role by recommending interventions or innovations that could further help reduce incidence of avoidable blindness. Choithram International Foundation welcomes feedback, and well-wishers may email firstname.lastname@example.org with their inputs.
“We were humbled by what we saw that at the mega camp. The Hospital is doing a great service to humanity by delivering such good care to the poor people who suffer from blindness. The dedication and passionate response to the cause of eliminating avoidable blindness is inspiring, and we take this message back to Dubai – that where there is goodness and good will, great things can happen,” remarked a visiting dignitary from Dubai, Mr. Ahmed Ali Ayachi.
As the UAE prepares to celebrate its golden jubilee in 2021, the current year is about building a strategy for the next 50 years. An important part of the strategy will be to consolidate the global footprint of the UAE in humanitarian programs. The UAE’s private sector will do well to join hands and bolster the nation’s outreach, and brands like Choithrams are well-positioned to contribute with the success of their past and ongoing projects.
“Choithram Netralaya may have been in operation for more than 25 years, transforming thousands of lives with the gift of sight, but avoidable blindness remains a major threat to development globally. It is denying families, young people a chance to a better life. Application of innovative technologies can help in scaling our reach exponentially. We are looking to collaborate at Expo2020 next year to bring actionable global solutions that can bring down the high incidence of avoidable blindness. Our work has just begun,” concluded Mr. Pagarani.
During a 3-month annual mega camp, Choithram Netralaya conducts more than 10,000 free cataract surgeries (pre-Covid19) serving the underserved, needy population in rural India. The eye hospital facility outside the city of Indore can accommodate more than 250 patients across 8 general wards with a provision of 12 fully-equipped operating theatres – a team of 13 specialists perform cataract surgery all day and all night.
Choithram International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Choithrams, the leading supermarket chain in the UAE, works with a number of local, regional and global entities to foster the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Through its donorship of international projects in education, healthcare, food security and sustainable practices, the Foundation impacts the lives of more than 50 million people in Africa, Asia and Middle East.
Data Source: Choithram Netralaya, 2018.
- More than 20,000 patients from the rural areas visit CN every year to avail of free cataract surgery
- Potentially a surgeon at CN can operate on 74 patients per week, restoring vision
- CN conducts more than 78% of all cataract surgeries in across central India (14 districts, total population of ~20million)
- December, January the busiest months for cataract surgeries
- The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 18 million people are bilaterally blind from cataract in the world, representing almost half of all global cases of blindness
- According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, the proportion of blindness due to cataract among all eye diseases ranges from 5% in developed countries to 50% or more in poor and/or remote regions
- One year after cataract surgery, patients increase their productivity by an average of 1-2 hours per day, are more independent, and their per capita expenditure may increase to the levels of those who do not have visual impairment
- In 2018, only 8% of the patients at CN were paid patients