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Sightsavers from the field

How Sightsavers is changing lives in north-east India

October 2017
A bustling street in Bihar, India.

In August 2017, Sightsavers Corporate Relationships Manager Ed Hennessy travelled to Bihar in north-east India with staff from corporate partner Nikon.

The trip gave them a first-hand look at Sightsavers’ work treating cataracts in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the country. These photos tell the story of their visit.

There are more than a million blind people living in Bihar state, of which 560,000 are blind from cataracts – one of the highest concentrations of cataracts in the world. After years of neglect, Bihar has an enormous backlog of cataract cases, the majority of which could be cured.

Yet the state lacks a solid infrastructure for eye health, and human resources remains one of the most daunting challenges in Bihar, where 14 district hospitals have no eye surgeon. This is why Sightsavers’ work in the region remains so vital.

During the five-day trip, Ed and the Nikon team visited the Daudnagar Organization for Rural Development (DORD) hospital in southern Bihar. The hospital provides cataract surgery and other eye care services for people from the surrounding region, most of whom have no other way to access medical care.

Sightsavers is working in Bihar to strengthen eye health services and support the local health system to provide treatment and surgery for the people who need it.

During the trip, the team were touched by the warmth and friendliness of the local people.

“The welcome we received at the DORD Hospital was very special,” says Ed. “School children and local health workers lined the path throwing flowers as we entered the hospital.”

At DORD Hospital, the team saw eye tests being carried out, watched spectacles being made and met some of the beneficiaries of Sightsavers’ funding.

They were also allowed into the operating theatre, where they were able to watch eye surgery in progress. “Witnessing a live cataract operation was something that stood out to all of us,” says Ed.

“This trip really made me realise how desperately help is needed in these areas,” says Christian Hersborn from Nikon. “To experience the life, seeing the infrastructure (or lack thereof) and getting close up and personal with the people in need of help was eye-opening.

“I do hope that I will be able to pay this experience forward to as many as I can, both within our organisation and in my personal life.”

A group of girls smile as they stand behind railings.

“This trip made me realise how desperately help is needed in these areas.”

A group of girls smile as they stand behind railings.

Want to read more about our work?

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