Seventeen children from across the country have had their sight restored through cataract surgery funded by the Korea Electrical Power Corporation Organisation (KEPCO).
The revelation was made at a ceremony held to celebrate with the children who had undergone successful operations, accompanied by their parents and guardians at Bokamoso Private Hospital last week Friday.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Shenaaz El Halabi, said KEPCO started supporting her ministry with eye surgeries on children since 2012 through their slogan, “Eye Love Hope 1004”.
She said KEPCO paid for the children’s hospital accommodation and ophthalmologists’ charges, also emphasising that it is in line with Botswana Vision 2016 pillar of, “Compassionate, Just and Caring Nation”. “It is pleasing that 17 children have so far benefited from this noble gesture and there is no doubt that evidence suggests that vision impairment and blindness is a leading and largely preventable cause of disability worldwide.
According to the 2009 World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, there were 1.26 million children worldwide who were blind, 0.42 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and this number is likely to increase if effective interventions are not put in place, El Halabi shared. Regarding her ministry’s efforts, El-Halabi said that it is critical to train primary school teachers and health education assistants as they could assist in detection of childhood diseases and help in referral to prevent visual impairment and blindness.
KEPCO Chief Representative (Africa office), Bae Sang Ha appreciated the involvement of stakeholder in both Botswana government, Bokamoso Hospital Karong Clinics in the implementation of the eye operations.
Sang Ha said KEPCO is a government owned company and is carrying out various social contribution programs to fulfill its responsibility as a global company. He said Eye Love Hope project is an eyesight recovery operation program for underprivileged people supported by KEPCO. He further said KEPCO enjoys supporting Botswana citizenry with a target of five patients annually.
“Since 2011, KEPCO has supported eye surgery costs for families in Korea and abroad who could not afford surgery and could lose their eyesight if not operated on. KEPCO is therefore planning to provide these benefits to 100 persons over the world every year, Sang Ha said.