Qatar Charity

Qatar Charity is one of the largest charitable non-governmental leading charities in the Gulf. In 2015, Qatar Charity and Orbis launched their partnership to raise much needed funds for Orbis's sight saving work.

The Partnership

Qatar Charity (QC) was established in 1992 and focuses on healthcare, education, social care, housing & infrastructure, water & wells as well as emergency relief. Over the last few years Qatar Charity has partnered with international organisations and institutions such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Unicef, UNHCR, UASAID, WHO, etc.

In October 2015, Qatar Charity and Orbis announced their partnership to raise funds in Qatar and expand Orbis's work. The campaign was unveiled with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh at Hamad International Airport.

In 2017, Her Royal Highness returned to Qatar. During HRH's visit to Qatar Charity headquarters, QC and Orbis celebrated their strong bond and commitment to the fight against avoidable blindness.

Over the years, thanks to Qatar Charity, the community at large was able to support Qatar's vision of a world where no-one is needlessly blind. In addition to many individuals, children and teachers from schools such as DESS and Doha College, as well as businesses such as Oryx Rotana, carried out exciting fundraising activities.

Additinally, to engage the youth, in 2017 Qatar Charity sent students from Qatar to Bangladesh to witness Orbis's eye care programmes. That same year the group had the opportunity to come on-board the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital while the aircraft was in Doha.

In November 2018, Orbis and Qatar Charity signed an agreement during the World Innovation Summit for Health, to expand our partnership further, and in 2022, we launched a programme to provide vital eye care to refugees and the local host community in Bangladesh.

Providing Eye Care in Bangladesh

The funds raised since 2015 have been directed towards reducing avoidable blindness in Bangladesh.

There are 7.4 million people in Bangladesh who are blind or visually impaired. Cataract is the most common cause of blindness there and around 5,000 children are diagnosed each year. While cataract is easily treated with surgery, rural areas of Bangladesh, where over 60% of the population lives, are hard to reach, therefore a simple trip to the optometrist can become an almost impossible feat. With a limited number of ophthalmologists, Bangladesh also faces daunting challenges in delivering quality eye care to its population.

Qatar Charity's first fundraising campaign focused on a programme to strengthen the quality and sustainability of eye care services in Dhaka and three underserved districts: Jamalpur, Naogaon and Barisal.

Thanks to Qatar Charity’s funding, throughout the life of the project, 21 much-needed new cataract surgeons received training. Nurses also completed almost a hundred trainings in clinical, nursing and training management. As a result of these educational opportunities, the number of surgeries performed increased each year, totalling 48,103.

Hundreds of front line workers and community volunteers were also trained. These ‘unsung heroes’ are working tirelessly to identify and refer people with vision loss symptoms, raise awareness and ensure their community has access to quality eye care services.

Thanks to more than a hundred outreach programmes, new visions centres and these trained unsung heroes, more than a million people accessed the eye health facilities during the life of the project to receive the treatment they needed!

Through this programme, Dr. Sohel Mahmud, now the Senior Medical Officer at Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital (IIEI&H), successfully completed a 15-month fellowship training in cataract surgery.

During his fellowship he carried out almost a thousand cataract surgeries, attended a series of theoretical and practical/surgical sessions, including Wet Lab, sterilization procedure, orientation on comprehensive ophthalmic examination, and had exposure to different sub-specialty such as cornea, glaucoma, retina etc.

In addition to developing skills for his cataract surgeries, Dr. Sohel has had the opportunity to get exposure in complicated and difficult cataract cases to efficiently manage pre-operative and post-operative complications.

The successful completion of the training has empowered Dr Sohel in becoming a trainer of other doctors in cataract surgery.

Dr. Sohel Mahmud

Senior Medical Officer, Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital

This pro­gramme is very much ben­e­fit­ting our coun­try and hos­pi­tals. In gen­er­at­ing more trained cataract sur­geons we are able to take on high vol­ume qual­i­ty cataract surg­eries. The cataract sur­geon will act as a sol­dier in the war against avoid­able blindness.

Extension of Partnership

In April 2022, work supported by Qatar Charity began to tackle avoidable blindness in the Rohingya community and local host population in South East Bangladesh. The programme will support over 300 people to be trained, from frontline health workers to doctors and nurses, and will enable teams to carry out over 140,500 eye screenings, leading to 13,000 treatments by mid-2024.

Bangladesh is a densely populated country, of 160 million. Eye care services can be stretched as the majority of ophthalmologists are located within cities. With around one million refugees in the Cox's Bazar area, the further development and expansion of eye health services is vital, to serve both the local host community as well as the Rohingya community, many of whom have never had access to medical care before.

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