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JIS News

A campaign to raise funds to build eye care capacity at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston was launched recently in Canada .
ORBIS Canada, which has participated in more than 110 sight-saving programmes worldwide, launched ‘Eyes on Jamaica’ at the headquarters of AIC Limited in Burlington, Ontario, to raise US$600,000 to fund its ‘Building Eye Care Capacity at the Bustamante Hospital for Children Project.’
Aimed at developing sustainable solutions for Jamaica’s eye care needs, the project, a partnership with the Ministry of Health, was launched in April 2004 and will provide infrastructure development and eye care training for the hospital to eventually reduce paediatric blindness in Jamaica.
Over a three-year period, the project is expected to train eight eye care practitioners; examine and treat 10,000 children for eye care problems; perform 1,000 surgeries; and implement public education programmes to improve the eye care awareness of 10,000 persons.
Guest speaker at the event was AIC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Lee-Chin, who started the campaign with a donation of US$25,000.Stating that he felt like the luckiest person in the world because of where he was born and all that he had achieved, Mr. Lee-Chin said “those who can, should give because it is the most fulfilling feeling.”
“We are all blessed and very fortunate to be sitting here,” said Mr. Lee-Chin, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the National Commercial Bank (NCB). “I was astounded to find out that 37 million people in the world are blind and that 90 per cent of them live in developing countries.
There is good news however, because we have the knowledge and technology to fix the problem. The challenge is to get the help to the most rural places,” he added.
Dr. Garth Taylor, Vice-President of ORBIS Canada and Chief of Ophthalmology at Cornwall Community Hospital, said that plans were already underway to renovate and expand the paediatric eye care clinic at the Bustamante Hospital.
He said 2,856 children have already been treated, while 177 eye surgeries were performed and hospital-based training programmes, fellowships and ophthalmic workshops were held.
The visit in January 2006 of the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital will allow for further training opportunities for the hospital, said Dr. Taylor, who on Monday, Oct. 17 will receive the Order of Jamaica for his work in microscopic eye surgery and cornea transplants. The Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 airplane converted into a state-of-the-art surgical facility, will be making its seventh visit to Jamaica