A joint fight against African blindness

Reaching out across ­borders, RC ­Nigdi-Pune, D 3131, joined hands with Rotary clubs in ­Finland and Korea to cure blindness in ­Ethiopia in East Africa.

Four Districts (1380, 1400, 1410 and 1430) from Finland, three from South Korea (3590, 3600 and 3690), and two clubs of Ethiopia (RCs Addis Ababa Entoto and Addis Ababa Bole) partnered with RC Nigdi and TRF to donate 10 phacoemulsification machines for precision cataract ­surgery in Ethiopian hospitals.

From L: Padmaja Deshmukh, DG Prashant Deshmukh and RC Nigdi-Pune President Shubhangi Kothari handing over the agreement copy to Dr Kebede Worku, Federal Health Minister of Ethiopia.

DG Prashant Deshmukh ­handed over these devices to Dr Kebede Worku, Federal Health ­Minister of Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa in the ­presence of Indian Ambassador Anurag ­Srivastava. “This global grant project will help over 3 lakh blind people across 10 rural areas of Ethiopia. The Phaco machines will enable the hospitals to undertake over 3 lakh eye operations a year,” said Deshmukh.

At present, there is a backlog of 6.5 lakh cataract surgeries in Ethiopia.

The Pune club will also host and train 10 eye surgeons from Ethiopia. They will undergo intensive training at reputed eye hospitals in India, to perform phaco surgeries back home.  Of the total cost of $122,250, the club contributed $54,000, supported by Korean ($20,000) and Finnish ($15,000) clubs.

While PRID Shekhar Mehta mooted the idea of this project, PRIP Rajendra K Saboo developed it ­further by roping in partner Districts. TRF Trustee Chair Kalyan ­Banerjee, PRID Sangkoo Yun, PDGs ­Sudhir Rashingkar and Mohan ­Palesha guided the project, which was led by IPP Ranu ­Singhania and ­Director Special ­Projects Srikrishna Karkare. The Ethiopian Airlines transported the machines free of cost.

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