|Posted on:||Friday, 10th November, 2017|
The North of England Ophthalmological Society (NEOS) has committed to support people who are blind or living with disabilities in the world’s poorest places, choosing CBM as their Charity of the Year for 2017-18. NEOS is a membership organisation that brings together eye-specialist doctors in the north of England and north Wales.
Long-term CBM supporter Will Sellar, who is Consultant Ophthalmologist at West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, and this year’s President of NEOS explains why he chose CBM:
In our privileged roles as ophthalmologists, we understand the importance of good vision, both in performing our own work but also for our patients to enable them to earn a living, access education and enjoy retirement in late years. However, in many parts of the world there may be little or no access to adequate ophthalmic facilities and no screening, rehabilitation services or support for those with poor or no sight. Accessing services is even more difficult for those with disabilities and sight impairment.
That is why I have chosen CBM UK as my charity of the year as it aims to transform the lives of people with visual impairment and other disabilities and their communities in the world’s poorest places.
From its foundation, CBM has been driven to reach those whom others leave behind. Over 100 years ago CBM founder, Pastor Ernst Christoffel, was moved to help blind street children whom others barely noticed. Ever since, CBM has been supporting those at risk of blindness and other disabilities, recognising that they are often the poorest and most excluded in their communities.
Dr Sellar has witnessed first-hand CBM’s sight-saving work in East Africa. In November 2015, he visited the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), two of CBM’s local partners in Tanzania. There, he met some of the children being treated for visual impairment and blindness and saw the lasting effects of CBM’s support:
“CBM pays not only for cataract surgery under general anaesthetic at one of the country’s few paediatric eye units but also for the travel of both the child and parent, as well as follow up review and spectacle rehabilitation.”
Inspired by his trip in 2015, Dr Sellar volunteered his time in January of this year to train ophthalmology students enrolled in the programme at KCMC.
It is thanks to benevolent supporters, like Dr Sellar, that CBM’s sight-saving programmes exist and ensure that no one is left behind.
Images: Top – Funds raised through NEOS will help children like Omari who had sight-saving cataract surgery at our partner hospital in Tanzania, East Africa. Bottom – Will Sellar on a visit to KCMC, Tanzania.