Tej Kholi & Ruit Foundation has now taken its journey of curing needless blindness in Bhutan. Since they established the organization, both philanthropist Tej Kohli and ophthalmologist Sanduk Ruit has been working tirelessly to meet the goal of curing 500,000 people plagued by cataract and congenital eye diseases.
After the launch of Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation, it aims to serve underdeveloped communities of developing nations like Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, North Korea, Rwanda, Tanzania, Lebanon, and Syria. Since its establishment, they have served extensively in Nepal by conducting outreach camps to areas that even the natives of the country rarely visit.
In August 2022, the journey to bring down cataract problems in Bhutan was started by sexagenarians. The NGO organized two eye camps in Thimpu, the country’s capital city, and Wangdue Phodrang. In these two camps, the organization, with the help of the local NGOs and eye doctors, screened 1619 patients, of which 246 were cured of their blindness.
In Thimpu, 573 patients were screened, out of which about 18 per cent, i.e., 103 people, underwent surgery and restored their eyesight. Whereas in Wangdue Phodrang, 1047 people were screened, out of which, with the help of local eye surgeons, 143 people were operated. All these 143 patients were able to get their visions back.
During the camps and surgeries, both eye surgeon Dr Sanduk Ruit and entrepreneur Tej Kohli were present in the centres to connect with the patients and their families. Both believed that only with a well-orchestrated cataract surgery delivery system can this blindness be cured. Cataract blindness must be taken care of head-on by every country because such blindness not only brings the person and their family down psychosocially, physically and economically but eventually affects the community, village, society and country. When such needless blindness can be cured, it will pave the way for uplifting the economic standard of underdeveloped nations.
The process of curing needless blindness in Bhutan is part of that venture, where the TKRF has started setting up the basic structure to reach out to the country’s underserved communities, bring them to the camps and screen them. After which, surgeries will be done in the high volume set-up without compromising on the quality of the operation and ensuring guaranteed outcomes.
But that’s not all; Mr Kohli and Dr Ruit understand that fighting this battle to cure blindness in these regions and countries alone is a lost battle. They need to champion the local ophthalmologists and eye surgeons. Hence, these camps set up in Bhutan were also part of training the local doctors to use the latest technology and equipment that significantly brings down the cataract operation time and price. The organization has partnered with ten local hospitals in Nepal and works with 54 doctors, and it’s now time to do the same in Bhutan with this first step they took in August 2022.
Bhutan’s camps are another step closer to achieving the mission of curing blindness, with TKRF already screened 171,059 while restoring sight to 21,571. Though Covid19 had slowed down the mission for a while, it is back with gusto, where Tej Kohli Foundation bears all the surgery costs.