Ceylon Cold Stores supports combating vision impairment in Sri Lanka

Posted On 02 Apr 2019
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Ceylon Cold Stores PLC (CCS), the brand owners of Elephant House, in collaboration with John Keells Foundation conducted three cataract camps during the financial year 2018/19 benefiting disadvantaged communities in Horowpathana (Anuradhapura District), Sooriyawewa (Hambantota district) and Kaduwela (Colombo District), as part of the Vision 2020 program.

A total of 448 persons were examined at the eye camps with the support of 7 doctors and 41 staff volunteers from CCS. 124 out of the 189 individuals identified as cataract patients have already been facilitated surgeries through Vision 2020 Secretariat of the Ministry of Health.

As a trusted consumer brand in Sri Lanka with a proud heritage of over 150 years of serving local and foreign consumers with excellence in the FMCG industry, Elephant House is known for delivering a product portfolio rich in quality and value. The consumer centric organization operating in the beverages & frozen confectionery categories has espoused optometry and vision related interventions as its strategic focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and has been an active partner and benefactor of the vision-related initiatives of John Keells Foundation, the CSR entity of the John Keells Group.

The John Keells Vision Project, primarily an island-wide cataract initiative, is a long-term initiative of John Keells Foundation implemented in collaboration with Vision 2020 Secretariat of the Ministry of Health. According to the National Survey of Blindness, Visual Impairment, Ocular Morbidity and Disability in Sri Lanka Report (2014-15), Cataract is the commonest cause of blindness (66.7%) followed by uncorrected refractive errors (12.5%). Whilst the Sri Lankan government provides free health care, including eye care, the country reports a high backlog of surgeries due to the lack of sufficient resources.

The John Keells Vision Project was launched in 2004 to compliment VISION 2020, a global initiative to eliminate the major causes of avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and to which Sri Lanka is a signatory. Under the project, disadvantaged persons across the island are screened for cataract and their surgeries arranged and funded, towards restoring their sight and thereby their quality of life and independence. Up to end February of the current financial year, a total of 5 cataract camps were organized by John Keells Foundation, resulting in the identification of 384 cataract patients and the completion of 263 surgeries in collaboration with the Vision 2020 Secretariat and CCS. The cumulative number of cataract surgeries completed under the Project since its launch in 2004 is 13,379.

Since 2015, CCS in collaboration with the Foundation has also been providing funding and volunteer support to a vision screening programme in schools in the Colombo District conducted by the Department of Health Services enabling early detection of refractive errors and vision impairments in school children. The initiative also includes the provision of spectacles to deserving children free of charge. In 2018/19 (up to end February), vision screening was conducted in 103 schools, screening 24,451school children and providing 1,191 eye glasses free of charge. Since 2015, 11,626 school children have benefited from eye glasses funded under the initiative.

CCS is a subsidiary of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange. JKH has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for 13 years. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a Participant Member of the UN Global Compact, JKH’s CSR vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow” is driven through its CSR entity, John Keells Foundation.

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