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Standard Chartered announces US$20 million for eye care to poor urban areas through 'trail blazing' Seeing is Believing initiative

Oct 17, 2008, 5:12 AM

Standard Chartered Bank today announced that Seeing is Believing, its global initiative to help tackle avoidable blindness, will invest US$20 million to fund the development of sustainable eye care services in less advantaged areas of 20 cities [including [local market] (where relevant)]. 

This new phase of the programme will give poor, marginalised populations access to complete services from cataract surgery, to preventative treatment and specialised medical interventions.  The President of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness described the work proposed as a 'trail blazer' corporate social responsibility initiative in this area.

Initiated in 2003 and driven by the Bank's employees, Seeing is Believing is helping tackle avoidable blindness, 90 per cent of which is found in the developing world where the Bank's business is rooted.

The urban focus of the programme reflects the increasing incidence of avoidable blindness in cities, especially as urbanisation swells the numbers of people living in less advantaged urban areas where access to eye care is poor and awareness around eye health is low.

 The services will be comprehensive, delivering community eye health education and awareness raising, together with a range of interventions, from spectacle provision, to surgery according to need.  The services will also be sustainable, designed to support marginalised and excluded populations both now and in the future.

In the design and implementation of the programme, the Bank is working with the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, the World Health Organisation and leading eye care NGOs.  With the support of these partners, 20 cities have been provisionally selected for investment through a systematic process identifying areas of real need.

As a demonstration of its commitment to the programme, the Bank commits to match every donation raised until the US$20million target is met and aims to raise the funds by 2013.  The investment will extend from 2008 to 2015 when the programme is due to complete.

To launch our new vision, Standard Chartered Gambia Ltd in collaboration with Sight Savers International and the Department of State of Health, will be holding a Fund Raising Football Match against the GFA Couches of the Gambia.  Proceeds of the event will be used to fund catarrh surveys for several underprivileged Gambians.  

Commenting, CEO Humphrey Mukwereza said, Seeing is Believing attests to what we hold to be core - our values and our commitment to lead by example, to be the right partner.  I have no doubt that this next phase of Seeing is Believing, despite the stretch of its ambition, will be a further success.  I know this because I know the depth of commitment to this cause, to this unique project that helps us make the difference.