Taiwan inks pact with NGO Orbis on child eye care

Kolkata, Dec 21 (IANS) Taiwan on Monday inked an agreement with NGO Orbis International to develop a long-term sustainable paediatric eye care system and deliver quality eye care services to the children of West Bengal.

Chung-Kwang Tien, the representative of Taiwan in India, signed the pact on behalf of his country’s foreign affairs ministry, while Orbis country-director in India Rahul Ali stood in for his organisation.

The six-year programme, that began 21 months back, is now being co-funded by Taiwan, with Tien handing over to Orbis a cheque of $80,000 for its implementation.

“The aim of the agreement is to create a collaborative relationship between the institutions to develop a long-term sustainable paediatric eye care system in West Bengal. It aims at eliminating avoidable blindness among children in the region.

“It will strengthen Taiwan’s bilateral relations with India as well as its association with international humanitarian organisations,” said Tien during the programme at the Susrut Eye Care Foundation and Research Centre.

The programme focuses on child blindness, and provides free treatment to those who cannot afford to pay.

“We have set up three centres in the Kolkata slums. Three other centres are running in rural areas in neighbouring districts. Also, as part of the programme, we visit schools, conduct eye check-ups and train teachers.

“We will invest the money to revamp our infrastructure, buy new equipment, train our manpower,” said Susrut secretary Ratish Chandra Paul.

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