Scientific advances and innovations in medical technology open up medical care to an increasing number of people and enable them live their lives. Nonetheless, more than 39 million people around the world suffer from blindness. Around half of them have curable cataract, while another 246 million have other kinds of visual impairment. Training for doctors in conjunction with state-of-the-art treatments is vital to the fight to eliminate preventable blindness. To improve medical care in South America, ZEISS joined forces with the Christian Blind Mission (CBM), the Fundación Visión and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to establish a diagnostic, treatment and training center operated by the Fundación Visión. The IAPB Latin American Center of Excellence in Asunción, Paraguay, is the fourth diagnostic and training center sponsored by ZEISS. The facility was officially opened as part of the VISION 2020, the global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness.
The IAPB Latin American Center of Excellence is an ophthalmic center where doctors will be trained to use the latest systems and diseases of the eye can be diagnosed and treated with state-of-the-art, reliable medical technology. Technicians receive theoretical and practical training in the functionality and maintenance of the systems to ensure sustainability of this commitment. "Our commitment to good vision and preventing blindness throughout the world bundled under the VISION 2020 initiative has been once again systematically demonstrated in this project. The new center will benefit all of South America," says Dr. Ludwin Monz, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss Meditec AG.
The IAPB Latin American Center of Excellence in Asunción is another diagnostic and training center financed by ZEISS and follows in the footsteps of three comparable centers in Africa and Indonesia. “World over, well-trained human resources are in acute shortage. There is also a vast chasm separating high-quality treatments and those who most need it. The Latin American Centre of Excellence is a much-needed intervention in the region; it benefits from ZEISS’ celebrated focus on quality and the passion and dedication of Fundación Visión. This centre – like the three others in different parts of the world – are a testament to ZEISS long-standing commitment to the elimination of avoidable blindness and visual impairment,” says Peter Ackland, CEO of IAPB.
Special dedication to the common good has been traditionally important to ZEISS. However, access to good ophthalmic care in all parts of the world is not only morally correct, but also an economically sound investment. After all, following an operation, patients can usually take care of themselves again shortly after the procedure and contribute to their country's gross national product.
Michael Hubensack, who is responsible for the distributor markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America at the ZEISS Medical Technology business group, was on hand last week for the opening of the new center. "It is impressive to see how doctors here provide high-quality care to people from the entire region; care that they otherwise could not afford. Thanks to this cooperation, the doctors also have the opportunity to receive training on state-of-the-art systems," he said. Dr. Rainer Brockhaus, Director of the CBM, added: "For many years, CBM partner Fundación Visión has been a key player in the push to improve the quality of life of people in the region. At the new center with its high-quality instruments, it is now possible to provide modern diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and offer excellent doctor training."
At the new facility in Asunción, doctors will be able to diagnose and treat cataract, for example. The treatment of cataract is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world. One of the first patients was an 85-year-old woman. "The procedure took only a few minutes and did more than simply restore her eyesight; it also allowed her to take her rightful place in society," says Hubensack. "Following the operation, this woman was able to pass on to her granddaughter, her knowledge in the production of handmade jewelry and bags."
Jann Gerrit Ohlendorf, Group Communications, Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, +49 (0)3641220-331, firstname.lastname@example.org