Kabir Bedi launches India Fellowship Program 2019 for young ophthalmologists

July 2019

New Delhi, July 16, 2019: Kabir Bedi, the Honorary Brand Ambassador of Sightsavers India launched the India Fellowship Program today in Delhi. Sightsavers’ Global Chief Executive, Dr. Caroline Harper and Dr. S Y Quraishi, the Honorary Chairman of Sightsavers India were also present at the launch.

The aim of the India Fellowship Program is to identify up to 10 promising young ophthalmologists from across the country. The program’s motto is to groom the young ophthalmologists through an innovative course of mentoring and surgical exposure to expand their perspectives on rural eye health and to shape the youth into promising and skilled ophthalmologists.

The selected fellows will be placed in one of the 8 states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. With the rising eye related problems in India, a greater number of skilled professionals are required in the country. Preventable Blindness is a challenge that can only be surmounted by having adequate eye health services in the remote locations of the country led by skilled ophthalmologists. Thus, Sightsavers came up with India Fellowship Program, an opportunity for promising and passionate young ophthalmologists to get trained at some of the leading eye health institutes in India.

Mr. Kabir Bedi, Honorary Brand Ambassador, Sightsavers India said, “The problem of preventable blindness is common in India. Lack of awareness on the importance and the basic understanding of how eye health works often leads to stigma around simple and easy treatments. Sightsavers India Fellowship Program is a unique initiative for the young ophthalmologists to embark on an exciting journey of 24 months and learn along with established ophthalmologists, researchers and educators. During the course of the program, the selected ophthalmologists will be given 24 months of structured process of learning, hands-on surgical, clinical training at leading eye health institutions, exciting regional postings along with international exposure and residential facility.“

Speaking on the initiation of the India Fellowship Program, Mr RN Mohanty, CEO at Sightsavers India said, “The program’s vision is to cultivate a capable and competent workforce in the eye care field for rural India. Currently, there are nearly 18,000 Ophthalmologists present in the country, which is nowhere near enough with respect to the ratio of the population in the country. India needs more ophthalmologists. This is a fellowship program for the future ophthalmologists and with this we aim to train and groom motivated youth to help them transform into exceptionally skilled ophthalmologists early in their career. With this new initiative we hope to bring about positive substantial impact in the society.”

Speaking at the launch event, Dr. Caroline Harper, Global Chief Executive at Sightsavers said, “Almost 75% of vision loss can be cured, at Sightsavers India, we are on a mission to eliminate preventable blindness. For this mission, we are going to need a lot of support from skilled doctors and enthusiastic young ophthalmologists. The India Fellowship Program is a first of its kind initiative. The well-structured program will give them an opportunity to learn from the best names at most respected eye care training hospitals. She further added, “If you are looking for something more than a job, you are empathetic, committed, hardworking, a team player and have a passion for travel, the doors of Sightsavers India Fellowship Program are open for you. And, here’s your chance to learn from the best in the sphere of medical and development sector for healthy transformation in the career.”

Dr. S Y Quraishi, the Honorary Chair of Sightsavers in India said, “Through the India Fellowship Program, the shortlisted fellows will get a chance to use their skills and knowledge acquired at the course of the fellowship program and from their medical student journey days in the real world scenario while being placed under Sightsavers India Eye Health Programme. The selected candidates will be placed under Sightsavers’ partner hospitals. This will be a huge step towards better eye care facilities in rural India and upskilling of the young ophthalmologists.”

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