What we do

 

Vision for Bangladesh was founded by Rachel Andrews. She registered the charity in 2017 but her work in Bangladesh has been ongoing since 2006.

Vision for Bangladesh has seven trustees working hard to help those living in extreme poverty, while working closely with, and supporting, BNSB Eye Hospital in Moulvibazar.

The charity is entirely funded by donations and we're grateful for every penny given to such an important cause. Donations are used to pay for sight-saving surgery, hospital equipment, Nurse/Doctor training and awareness programmes (including door-to-door knocking in the tea gardens) to find children in remote areas.

Read the full story...

 

Hello, I'm Rachel

My name is Rachel Andrews, and my story in Bangladesh started when I encountered the mother and daughter pictured below, through a taxi window in Dhaka. Highlighting to me that sadly in the developing world there is still avoidable blindness.

In 2017 I retired from my position of Paediatric and Adult Ophthalmic Sister at the West Suffolk Hospital’s Eye Treatment Centre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Since retiring my passion has grown greater than ever for this speciality and my love for Bangladesh has given retirement a whole new meaning for me.


The need out there is immense and I want to do all I can to tackle unnecessary blindness in the developing world.

 
 

​Moulvibazar Eye Hospital is well known in Bangladesh. The hospital was founded in 1981 by an Ophthalmologist who wanted to bring eye care to the very poor population in the district of Moulvibazar and it continues to do that today.


The hospital sees up to 600 patients a day, who all come from a large surrounding catchment area; some even travel over the border from India. The hospital frequently sends out teams of professionals to reach the people in the rural areas. The patients are screened and anyone needing treatment is transported to the hospital the same day.

The hospital is run mainly from charitable funds and is a nonprofit humanitarian hospital with 160 staff. The costs are still growing, especially as the population becomes aware of treatment being available. As word spreads that blindness can be cured in many cases, the demand increases. 

It was here that my Bangladesh journey started in 2006 and the majority of the original team I worked with are still there and are now close friends.

 

2006

 

I first visited the hospital with two other colleagues from England to help train the doctors and nurses in Ophthalmic nursing and surgery. We went with the charity ORBIS which is part of the World Health Organisation initiative, Vision 2020, working to eliminate avoidable world blindness by the year 2020 (sadly this has not been the case yet).


That visit changed my life and began a lifelong relationship with the Bengali people.

One of our first teaching sessions was showing them the sterile technique of putting on surgical gloves. ​There have been many nursing practices I have been able to share with them and they are a pleasure to educate, with a keen spirit to learn and a sense of fun in every situation.

​Perhaps the key paediatric change we made was the handling of the child and parent in the operating theatre. Ideally the mother stays with the child until anaesthesia is induced, as this keeps mother and child more relaxed and the whole experience less traumatic. We saw instant results when implementing advice like this.

​Another good nursing practice we introduced was the organisation of the nurses scrub trolley. The trolley should be neat and tidy with every instrument identifiable in an emergency. 

Orderly trolley = orderly thinking!

Sharps should be handled carefully and disposed of in the right manner. When advising best practice in Bangladesh, it can only be implemented if there is no or minimal cost incurred. Likewise the operating theatre should be clean and tidy at all times, this is in the interest of Health and Safety, infection control and best nursing practice. All this was easily improved without any need for finance.


Today, the hospital continues to improve its nursing practice and has won awards of excellence for it's care.

 

2008

 

This was a special year for my nursing career as I was credited with the 'Patients Choice - Nurse of the Year Award UK' for helping a 13-year-old boy after he lost an eye in a tragic accident. This award spurred me on to help Moulvibazar Eye Hospital even more.

 

2010

 

I returned to the hospital independently from any charity and continued to help, teach and build colleague friendships - helping the poor ophthalmically as our common goal.

 

2012

 

I was able to raise £6,000 to send a 40-foot shipping container of refurbished NHS ophthalmic equipment to the hospital.

 

2013

 

I brought their senior consultant Doctor Shah over to the UK from Bangladesh to observe ophthalmic medicine and surgery in this country. I also taught him to cook an omelette!

 

2015

 

We were able to create a medical library with books donated from the UK.
The same year while visiting the hospital I was awarded the huge honour of becoming a lifetime member of the hospital. This cemented my commitment for life to helping the Bengali people.

 

2016

 

I started a crowdfunding page to raise money for parents unable to pay for their child’s sight-saving surgery. We raised enough to help 50 children, and owing to this ongoing need we did something very special in 2017.

 

2017

 

With my lovely group of trustees we officially formed a new UK registered charity –  Vision For Bangladesh.

 

2018

 

I visited the hospital to look at the best way of spending the charity funds raised and at the same time helping the hospital with updating equipment. However, I was also made aware of the huge need out in the tea gardens where children were unable to get the treatment they needed.

 

2019

 

We established an internal weekly teaching programme for the nurses and started the funding of a full-time support worker in the remote areas to find children going blind unnecessarily.

 

2020

 

The year of perfect vision; we have big plans for this year. Some of them have had to change as we support our friends in Bangladesh through Covid-19, but we are doing all we can to continue our work into also paying for sight-saving surgery and reaching out to those in extreme poverty in the tea gardens.

Our newest project is funding a worker to go into the remote areas of Bangladesh, going door-to-door to find any child that needs sight-saving surgery. Alongside this she is also teaching an awareness programme on hygiene, vitamin intake, vision testing and sanitation.

 

“Not all of us can do great things,

but we can do small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa

 

Join our vision for Bangladesh

The need is desperate but the results of action are so rewarding.

 
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©2020 by Vision for Bangladesh, UK.

Charity No. 1175944

Huge thanks to Wix for their free charity account which made this site possible.