Here’s How Tej Kohli And Dr Sanduk Ruit Are Contributing To SGD1 | #2030InSight

The number one United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SGD1) is to end extreme poverty everywhere. A little-known fact is that needless blindness is a cause and is also a consequence of extreme poverty. That’s why Tej Kohli and Dr Sanduk Ruit are making large-scale treatment interventions to cure blindness in the poorest communities of the developing world.

According to a study published by The Lancet, investment in the cure of cataract blindness can allow people to increase their economic productivity by up to 1,500% of the cost of surgery during the first postoperative year. The study further suggests that “future (health) work should focus on promoting the accessibility and quality of cataract surgery in developing countries”.

The Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation is committed to both, and is working towards helping end extreme poverty by making quality cataract surgery accessible to hundreds of thousands of patients who are living with cataract blindness in the developing world.

One such patient is Krishna Bahadur Majhi, a 38-year-old man who lives along the banks of the Sun Koshi River in Nepal’s Sindhupalchowk district. The Majhi community to which Krishna belongs to is one of Nepal’s 59 indigenous communities, and is listed as one of Nepal’s extremely marginalized communities.

Krishna had been blind with cataracts for two years before getting treatment at a Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation outreach camp.

Prior to his blindness, Krishna worked as a labourer at various construction sites in Kathmandu and would bring home a steady income every month. Combining his income and a little bit of government grant that he had received after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake damaged his home, he had even begun the task of reconstructing his home.

But when Krishna became blind with cataracts two years ago, he immediately became unemployed. Being the sole breadwinner of the family, his family immediately descended into extreme poverty. His wife took him to Kathmandu with the little savings they had, but they were unable to get medical care. Once that the little money that they had dwindled, the family returned home — the construction of which remained unfinished — and was left with no savings or income source to rely on.

For two years Krishna lived with his blindness, his wife taking care of him, alongside her farming and poultry rearing duties that were vital to keep the family fed. Kirshna and his wife had lost all hope that Krishna’s blindness could ever be cured, and Krishna continued to live a life of needless blindness.

That was until March, 2022.

One day, a screening team dispatched by the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation as part of its mission to screen one million, and cure 300,000–500,000 of cataract blindness in the world’s most underdeveloped communities by 2030 -set up a screening site near Kirshna’s village.

Along with other village members, Krishna accompanied by his wife arrived to the screening camp. The attending health assistant assessed Krishna’s eyes and made the diagnoses that he was living with cataract blindness, and referred him for surgery at a planned Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation microsurgical camp on March 18th, 2022.

Krishna’s wife Rita said that she did not have the means or resources to bring him to the camp, so the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation scheduled their pick-up on one of the 12 buses that were being dispatched to bring patients from several communities throughout the region.

Although still doubtful that Krishna’s eyesight could be restored, the husband and wife agreed to arrive at the camp for his scheduled surgery.

When Krishna and his wife arrived at the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation microsurgical camp in Doramba on 17th of March, 2022, a medical team dispatched by the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation were busy setting up an operating theatre, a biometrics lab, an anesthetic ward, a sterilization room, a post-operative ward, all part of a mobile cataract surgical delivery system perfected by Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation co-founder Dr Sanduk Ruit.

Krishna waits to be assessed by a Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation consultant.

Overwhelmed in the beginning, Rita soon began interacting with caretakers of other patients who had arrived at the camp. She was surprised to learn that many others shared the same plight that she and her husband did, and had fallen into extreme poverty because of needless, curable blindness.

Krishna’s surgery was conducted on 19th March by co-founder of the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation Dr Sanduk Ruit in the presence of co-founder Mr Tej Kohli, a philanthropist who believes that investment in sight restoration program has the power to turbo-charge communities by reducing extreme poverty.

Tej Kohli watches Dr Sanduk Ruit perform surgery on Krishna.

The unique partnership between Dr Sanduk Ruit and Mr Tej Kohli meant that the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation was able to cure 13,659 patients of cataract blindness during its first year, of which 333 were present at the Doramba camp itself.

Tej Kohli, who had been enthusiastically following his foundation’s impact over the course of the year, made it a point to visit the Doramba camp to witness the transformation for himself. Impressed with Dr Sanduk Ruit’s surgical method and his team’s fascinating delivery mechanism, Mr Kohli shared his admiration of Dr Ruit as the two co-founders shared a hug.

Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation co-founders Tej Kohli and Dr Sanduk Ruit.

The next day, on the 20th March, Krishna, along with 332 others awaited the doctor to remove their patches. Rita, who had been by her husband’s side the entirety of his blindness, was visibly nervous.

After his patches were removed by Dr Ruit and Tej Kohli, Krishna slowly opened his eyes — to sight.

He was stunned. He could not believe he was able to see again. He took several moments to register his sight, and finally broke a smile —

“for the first time in the longest time” said his wife Rita.

Kirshna looked at his wife. “She seems to have lost a lot of weight”, he remarked with sadness. “She used to be healthier before I became blind. The stress of taking care of me must have taken a toll on her”, he added.

“For two years, she has taken care of you. Now it is your time to take care of her”, Tej Kohli was quick to remark.

Krishna is overwhelmed at being able to see again.

By the evening, Kirshna had transformed into a completely different person. He could be seen smiling more often, he walked a little taller, and was a lot more confident.

A shy and reserved person when he was blind, he had transformed into a chatty person, and was quick to answer when someone asked him the repeated question:

How does it feel to be seeing again?

“It is like I have received a second chance at life”, he was heard saying repeatedly. “I had nothing to look forward in life. Everything was dark. But now that I can see again, I look forward to going home and beginning a new chapter of my life. Now I will resume my work, roam my village, go fishing once in a while, and even enjoy my meals”.

Meanwhile, for the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation, the journey is far from over — immediately after curing 333 patients of needless blindness in Doramba, the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation cured an additional 305 people of blindness in Nepal’s Nijgad area.

The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is continuing its efforts to screen 1 million, and cure 300,000 to 500,000 of needless blindness by 2030 — therefore allowing patients like Krishna, and their dependents the freedom to pursue their economic activities, and thereby living a life free from extreme poverty.

Krishna pictured amongst hundreds of patients who were cured at a single Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation microsurgical outreach camp.

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The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty everywhere by making grassroots interventions to cure blindness.

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Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation

Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation

The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty everywhere by making grassroots interventions to cure blindness.

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