The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO), an implementing body of the Nepal Eye Program, as its Collaborating Centre for Ophthalmology in Nepal.
Joining over 800 collaborating centres in over 80 WHO Member States, TIO is the second institute in Nepal to receive this designation (after SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre) but the first Nepalese health agency to receive the recognition.
Such collaborating centres are designated by the WHO Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organization’s programmes. TIO was chosen as it was a model example of conducting academia, research, treatment, and training in the country.
TIO will now collaborate with WHO in providing quality formulation and implementation of eye care service delivery, ophthalmic research, and educate qualified human resources in the field of ophthalmology. This move aims to alleviate the suffering caused by blindness in Nepal and fulfill the vision of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepalis” set by the Nepali government.
To mark the achievement, Nepal government and WHO, Country Office for Nepal, declared the recognition in a formal program with also coincided with TIO’s 25th-year service to the nation in quality eye care. The program was graced with the presence of Honorable Prime Minister, Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population, Mr. Upendra Yadav; and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Mr. Ishwor Pokhrel.
Prime Minister Oli commended the progress achieved by the Institute since its inauguration in 1994 as TIO provides services to over 400,000 eye patients annually and conducts around 65,000 minor and major surgeries, including cornea donation and transplantation. The Prime Minister added that with TIO’s support, the blindness prevalence of Nepal has reduced (from 0.84% to 0.35%), which has economically benefited Nepal and her people.
TIO has also educated 611 ophthalmologists, 732 ophthalmic paramedics, 6,916 medical students, and 10,305 community-based volunteers; while training about 8,000 Nepali and foreign ophthalmologists and ophthalmic personnel on their cataract surgical procedure.
Deputy Prime Minister addressed how the recognition will help achieve “The VISION 2020 Global Initiative” to eliminate avoidable blindness and strengthen the commitment of “Right to Sight”, as TIO runs 26 eye care centers in various provinces in Nepal, established Nepal’s first eye bank, and exports highly precise intra-ocular lenses to various countries, most prominently to China.
|Dr. Jos Vandelaer, WHO Representative to Nepal, handing over the congratulation letter from Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia, to Dr. Reeta Gurung, CEO of TIO.|
After the recognition, dignitaries from TIO further committed their services to the people of Nepal and beyond.
“This is a win-win situation for all”, stated Dr. Jos Vandelaer, at the ceremony, as TIO will now benefit from enhanced national and international visibility by authorities, calling public attention to proper and cost-effective eye care; while WHO gains access to TIO’s expertise, institutional capacity, and scientific validity to support its work.