ICEH, CEHC and LSHTM Hosted Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex for her 50th Birthday and also Annouced as Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee
20th January, 2015: The International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH), Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium (CEHC) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) hosted Their Royal Highnesses to see demonstrations of the Avoidable Blindness Programme of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (Trust) and to celebrate HRH Countess of Wessex’s 50th Birthday. TRH were provided with an overview of the Programme including demonstrations of Peek, DR-Net, CEHC Clinical Research Fellowships and meeting with the 3 CEHC Scholars and our MSc Public Health for Eye Care students and ICEH staff.
Within the Commonwealth, an estimated 15 million people are blind, yet 80% of all blindness is avoidable. Since its establishment by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2012 to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Trust has been developing an ambitious programme to significantly reduce blindness from preventable causes in Commonwealth countries. Within five years, by working in alliance with expert organisations in eye health, the Trust aims to:
- Eliminate trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness – in Kenya, Malawi, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati, and make significant advances towards its elimination in five other Commonwealth countries.
- Reduce the rates of diabetic retinopathy – caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the blood vessels in the retina, which results in irreversible blindness – in India and the Pacific. With diabetes on the rise globally and set to increase by 60% in the Commonwealth by 2030, diabetic retinopathy is on course to become the world’s leading cause of avoidable blindness.
- Reduce cases of retinopathy of prematurity – total and irreversible blindness in babies born prematurely who do not receive adequate health care in the early stages of their life – in India,which has the second highest number of pre-term births of any country in the world.
- Make high quality eye care available to all who need it by supporting new fellowships, research and the development of technology to improve expertise and strengthen eye care across the Commonwealth.
Co-Director of ICEH, Professor Allen Foster and Dr Matthew Burton with CEHC
CEHC MSc PHEC Scholars: Dr Desiree Murray (Trinidad and Tobago), Dr Irfan Khattak (Pakistan) and MSc PHEC Course Director, Dr Cova Bascaran & 2014/15 MSc PHEC Cohort
Dr Nick Astbury with CEHC Clinical Research Fellowships, Professor Clare Gilbert (Co-Director ICEH) and Dr Marcia Zondervan with DR-Net
HRH The Countess of Wessex using Peek Retina to HRH The Earl of Wessex and Peek’s Dr Andrew Bastawrous
Credit to all photos goes to: (c) The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust/Tara Moore