Bangladesh

With only 950 ophthalmologists, Bangladesh faces daunting challenges in delivering quality eye care to its population of 160 million people.

Across the country, 750,000 adults and 48,000 children are blind, and approximately 2.5 million people are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy (DR), a leading cause of blindness.

Success in Bangladesh

Our Flying Eye Hospital first touched down in Bangladesh in 1985 and initiated the country’s first training programs for optometrists and opticians. To support long-term projects, we created a permanent office in Dhaka in 1999.

Over the years, we’ve made tremendous progress in combating avoidable blindness. Through our work with 14 partners in all eight divisions across the country, we’re reaching more than half a million people a year. 

KEY SUCCESSES:

  • Orbis initiated Bangladesh's first training programs for optometrists and opticians.
  • We supported the establishment of the country’s first autonomous eye bank.
  • We equipped the country’s first public pediatric eye care center.
  • We established Bangladesh's first rural vision centers and introduced paediatric ophthalmology services to remote communities.
  • We helped build the capacity of Sandhani Eye Bank — Bangladesh's most active, successful eye bank.
  • We organised the first International Symposium and Workshop on Clinical Engineering in Bangladesh, which resulted in the establishment of the nation’s first Biomedical and Clinical Engineering Society
  • We also contributed significantly to developing the National Eye Care plan under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which has been incorporated by the government.

ORBIS IN NUMBERS:

  • Trained more than 23,000 medical professionals in Bangladesh
  • Screened more than 5 million adults and children
  • Treated more than 3.7 million people
  • Helped establish 10 paediatric eye care centres in the country and 22 Vision Centres in remote and under-served areas

WHAT WE'RE DOING NEXT

Diabetes is a rising chronic disease and the International Diabetes Federation estimates 4.8% of the population are diabetic, which means that 7.4 million people in Bangladesh is currently living with diabetes. 

If their condition is not managed well, they may develop Diabetic Retinopathy, a blinding eye condition where the blood vessels of retina, the back of the eye, are damaged.

Orbis is working to reduce blindness due to Diabetic Retinopathy through training of eye doctors and general practitioners, upgrading technology and equipment, and strengthening the health system through the integration of the endocrine, GP and ophthalmology departments.

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