Ghana: SCB Raises U.S.$25 Million for Eye Care

In celebrating World Sight Day, which fell on Thursday October 14, 2010, Standard Chartered Ghana declared the whole of last week as "Seeing is Believing Week", rolling-out activities to draw attention to the issue of avoidable blindness and kicking-off its local fundraising effort in support of the Standard Chartered Group's initiative to raise funds for 'Seeing is Believing', the bank's global initiative which tackles avoidable blindness.

During the week, the Bank's Seeing is Believing team, led by the Country Coordinator, engaged staff through information sharing and discussions on good eye care. Free eye tests and eye health information were offered in selected branches and offices to staff and customers by a medical team from Operation Eyesight Universal, one of the Bank's 'Seeing is Believing' partners.

On the World Sight Day, staff of the Bank joined officials of the Eye Care Unit of the Ghana Health Service and other organisations involved in eye care in Ghana to celebrate the day in Wa, under the theme - "Counting down to 2020; how far have we come?".

To date, Standard Chartered has raised US$25 million globally for its seeing is believing initiative, improving the lives of more than 18 million people. In Ghana, Standard Chartered's fundraising activities have helped to deliver eye care to over 1.3 million people in the Eastern and Western regions of the country.

This has been through the construction of 6 new Eye Clinics, complete with surgeries, the provision of equipment, training of Eye Care personnel, equipment repair technicians and primary and integrated eye care workers and the distribution of mectizan to prevent river blindness.

Delivering a speech at the national celebration of World Sight Day at Wa, Nii Okai Nunoo, Standard Chartered's Area Head, Corporate Affairs for West Africa said: "Avoidable blindness is not just a health issue, it has economic consequences. Where social safety nets and support are lacking, affected individuals may become dependent on others for their very survival. Our material support therefore in addressing avoidable blindness goes a long way to empower beneficiaries to lead normal lives.

At Standard Chartered, we are determined to lead by example in the markets in which we operate. As well as contributing to economic growth through our core business activities, we want to help protect the environment and to have a broader positive impact on the societies in which we live and work. That is the ethos of our brand promise, which we have committed to deliver on."

Seeing is Believing is a global collaboration between Standard Chartered, International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and leading international eye-care organisations. The Bank's matched funding approach means for every dollar raised, Standard Chartered will give the same.

Standard Chartered takes the opportunity during World Sight Day to call for further support from governments, corporations, international development organisations, non-governmental organisations and eye care professionals around the world to help eliminate avoidable blindness.

"Tackling avoidable blindness has a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals and a strong knock-on effect on communities and the wider economy. We remain steadfast in our latest commitment to raise USD 20 million by 2012 in hope to provide 20 million people with access to comprehensive and sustainable eye-care services. We call others to join us in the fight against avoidable blindness," says Richard Meddings, Chairman of Seeing is Believing and Group Finance Director of Standard Chartered.

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