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Himalayan Cataract Project E-News: September 2011

Here you will find news on the latest international eye care activities from the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP). This month’s newsletter includes summaries on the following:

  • Dr. Geoff Tabin speaks at Clinton Global Initiative event
  • USAID support in Nepal
    • HCP and Tilganga host USAID inspectors
    • Tilganga’s Refractive Surgery Unit renovations over 60% complete
    • Solar and medical waste solutions for Tilganga
  • Job Heintz attends IAPB meetings in Dubai 
  • Geoff Tabin delivers keynote at inaugural event for UNMC’s International Division
  • Young donors raise $210 for HCP

Dr. Geoff Tabin speaks at Clinton Global Initiative event

Dr. Geoff Tabin was the keynote speaker at a dinner event held in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, whose mission is to inspire, connect and empower a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The dinner was sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, a long-time supporter of eye care through its “Seeing is Believing” campaign.

Geoff’s talk, Widening Our Lens: Seeing Global Health as an Economic Investment, underscored the economic implications of blindness. The following day, Standard Chartered Bank announced that it will raise an additional $100 million for eye care from 2012 through 2020 through its “Seeing is Believing” campaign.





ON LEFT: Geoff Tabin with (left) David Stileman, Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank, Americas, and (right) Richard Meddings, Group Finance Director, Standard Chartered and Chairman of “Seeing is Believing.” ABOVE: Geoff Tabin with actress and singer/songwriter Mandy Moore, who serves as an Ambassador to Population Services International.

USAID support in Nepal

HCP and Tilganga host USAID inspectors

HCP and Tilganga staff hosted two USAID inspectors at the TIO facility. USAID/American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) provided $3.2 million of the $7 million expansion budget. The inspection consisted of a thorough walk-through and detailed file review of the construction and commodities purchased with USAID funds since 2003. In addition to the review, the inspectors arranged for a meeting with the USAID Mission in Nepal where they met with Linda Kentro, Senior Environmental & Emergency Health Specialist, to discuss ways to collaborate on local projects. On the final day, Co-Director Dr. Sanduk Ruit led a tour of the full facility for the USAID inspectors and representatives from the Mission. 

“At the end of the three-day tour, USAID inspector John Piggot said that HCP and Tilganga should be very proud of the eye hospital in terms of quality of construction and clinical services. We appreciate the time and support USAID/ASHA has devoted to HCP and are proud of our collective accomplishments.”   Job Heintz, HCP CEO




USAID engineer John Piggot in the library under HCP board member Dick Litwin’s careful eye.


Tilganga’s Ajeev Thapa and USAID engineer Bryan Enslein in scrubs before entering the OT.


Inspector Piggot and USAID mission representatives sit with Dr. Ruit after tour.


Tilganga’s Ageev Thapa explains the details of Phacoemulsification surgery performed by Dr. Ruit, observed from Tilgana’s surgery observation room.

Tilganga’s Refractive Surgery Unit renovations over 60% complete




Renovations to the Refractive Surgery Unit are over 60% complete.


Dr. Kishore, Director of the future Refractive Surgery Unit, climbs temporary bamboo stairs during renovations.

HCP moves forward on solar and medical waste solutions for Tilganga



Solar panels on the UN World Food Programme in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Representatives from HCP and Tilganga met with Raj Thapa, Managing Director of Solar Solutions in Kathmandu, Nepal, to discuss placing a 70KW array of solar panels at Tilganga. The panels would help offset Tilganga’s reliance on generators (and the associated cost of diesel fuels to run them) used during the frequent power outages. The team visited the World Food Programme’s facility with a similar array of panels. A feasibility study to identify energy requirements and location will be done before the end of the year.

HCP and Tilganga also met with the USAID Mission to address medical waste solutions for Tilganga, highlighting the importance of proper disposal through steam powered autoclave as a safe and clean alternative to incineration. HCP has $700,000 in support  (on a $900,000 total budget) from USAID/ASHA for solar and medical waste solutions for Tilganga.

HCP attends IAPB meetings in Dubai

CEO Job Heintz and Board Member Prof. Hugh Taylor (also VP of IAPB) represented the HCP at the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Council of Members meeting in Dubai. Job met with HCP partners — including Kathy Spahn of Helen Keller International, Brian Doolan and Dr. Ciku Mathenage of The Fred Hollows Foundation, David Green of Ashoka, and Johannes Trimell of Light for the World — to discuss common goals and collaborative programmatic work.

Geoff Tabin delivers keynote at inaugural event for UNMC’s International Division

Dr. Tabin was the keynote speaker at the University of Nebraska’s “Night for Sight” to launch its International Division of Ophthalmology. The event raised $50,000 for blindness alleviation efforts.

HCP is partnering with the International Division on training, capacity development, and technical support. The International Division was started by former HCP International Fellow, Dr. Mike Feilmeier and his wife Jessica who served as HCP’s Strategic Development Manager. Both Mike and Jessica devoted their time to HCP programs in Nepal and in Ghana, focusing on the residency training programs.

Young donors raise $210 for HCP instead of buying fancy dress for birthday

Jen and Hilary Bayer from Palo Alta, California, raised $210 for HCP by selling homemade cards for a 12th birthday celebration instead of buying a fancy dress. We've included a sample card, here.

Thanks Jen & Hilary!







An eye patient in Rwanda.

The Himalayan Cataract Project works to eradicate preventable and curable blindness through high quality ophthalmic care, education and the establishment of a world-class eye care infrastructure.

Please visit our Web site at www.cureblindness.org to keep up with the latest HCP news. There you will also find information on HCP’s finances, its founders, staff and board members, and ways that you can give the gift of sight.

Remember, through the Himalayan Cataract Project it takes a gift of only $20 to provide life-changing cataract surgery to someone struggling with blindness in the developing world.

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