The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi (DoH) and the international nonprofit eye bank Eversight are collaborating to launch the first eye and tissue bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The partnership has been formally established at the most recent International Conference for Initiatives on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation in Abu Dhabi.
“The establishment of the UAE’s first eye and tissue bank will provide a critical resource to the approximately one million people in the region who suffer from corneal blindness, including more than 12,000 people in the UAE,” Erik Hellier, Director of Global Development at Eversight, said in a company news release. “We are excited to partner with the DoH on this project that is directly aligned with our goals of creating and restoring vision health around the world, and leveraging our expertise, cultural competence and philanthropic support to help the UAE develop its own eye banking infrastructure.”
In accordance with all UAE laws and regulations and best practices for eye banking, Eversight will be in charge of developing and implementing medical standards, quality assurance methods, and standard operating procedures.
The Department of Health will be responsible for securing all required permits for the construction and operation of the eye and tissue bank, acting as a regional importer of corneas and other tissues related to the eye, and working to integrate the eye/tissue banking program with the UAE National Program for Organ Donation.
“Under the directives of our wise leadership, Abu Dhabi continues to partner with leading international bodies to elevate its national health care operations across all fronts,” said HE Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health. “We are proud to partner with Eversight to establish yet another impactful program that contributes to maintaining and enhancing lives in the UAE and beyond. Through this partnership, we aim to further improve healthcare outcomes and facilitate quick and seamless operations for all patients in need of eye-tissue transplantation in the UAE.”
Blindness and vision impairment affect an estimated 2.2 billion people worldwide. One billion of these people are suffering from blindness or visual impairment that is either avoidable or is not being appropriately addressed. Globally, corneal blindness affects 12 million individual. Eversight is working to alleviate this global issue and support the realization of vision for more individuals throughout the world.