Renowned ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit, who is also co-founder of Himalayan Cataract Project has won the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, a top civilian award of Bahrain.The award carries a purse of US$ 1 million, a certificate of merit and a gold medal.
Dr Ruit is pioneer in delivering high-quality microsurgical procedures in remote eye camps. He made modern eye care affordable and accessible to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He is also called as “God of Sight” to give eyesight to more than 120,000 persons who would have otherwise gone blind in absence of treatment.
Dr Ruit has trained more than 650 doctors, teaching them to cure preventable blindness.
He was recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2006.He and his work has been recognized with numerous awards including Reader Digest Asian of the Year by Reader’s Digest in 2007, Prince Mahidol Award by Prince Mahidol Award Foundation in 2007, National Order of Merit, Gold by His Majesty the King of Bhutan in 2015, Asian Game Changer Award, 2016.He is the recipient of the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India in 2018.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ congratulated senior ophthalmologist Ruit for receiving prestigious Bahrain’s Isa award.
Upon receiving the message of winning the ISA Prize, Dr Ruit said that this will help recover image of the country in the international arena.
Dr.Ruit, the prize winner was announced at a press conference on January 18 by Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Special Representative of His Majesty the King and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, Bahrain News Agency stated.
Dr Ruit is world-famous for devising a new method for treating cataracts. He was also able to develop a new lens implanted inside the eyeball that could be produced at a much cheaper price than its counterparts. This has helped him in performing cataract surgeries in less than five minutes during which he removes the cataract without stitches through small incisions, and replaces them with a cost-effective artificial lens.
Isa Award for Service to Humanity Secretary General Ali Abdullah Khalifa mentioned that 145 candidates from across the world had applied for the award in its fifth session 2021-2022 and 139 applicants were accepted after validating their applications.
The applications were then shortlisted to five, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award. He outlined that the Board of Trustees dispatched a field team to visit the locations of the five short-listed applicants to evaluate their conformity with the criteria of the award.
The Board of Trustees made the announcement during a press conference held yesterday at the Isa Cultural centre. The Isa Award for Service to Humanity covers 11 categories and aims to honour the contributions of individuals who seek to improve the world through their knowledge, expertise and committed to build a more compassionate future.
Mr. Ali Abdullah Khalifa, secretary general of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, said “Following careful deliberation, the arbitration committee narrowed the pool of prospective winners to five candidates from different countries.“Additionally, the Board of Trustees agreed to form a field research team to collect the most comprehensive and accurate field-confirmed data on the parameters of the applicants chosen for the short list by International Arbitration Committee in accordance with the award procrdure.”
Mr Ali Added: “Dr SandukRuit gained international acclaim for developing a noble approach to treating cataracts. He also succeeded in creating a new implantable lens that could be produced at a much cheaper price than its counterparts, allowing him to complete cataract surgery in significantly less time.”
Dr Ruit performed free eye surgeries to low-income patients, and by doing this, he was able to save almost 120,000 people’s eyesight, who would have otherwise gone blind. Results of the fieldwork concluded thatDr Ruit was able to develop a cost effective lens and develop a new way to perform that minimises collateral damage and shorten the recovery period of the patient.
Also Dr Ruit established a factory in his home town, in which more than 350,000 lenses each year were produced, with each lens costing US$ 3 to distribute, instead of the usual US$ 100 cost elsewhere. Over the course of Dr Ruit’s 30 years career, he was able to perform 50,000 eye surgeries and procedures at no charge to those who cannot afford them.
Dr Ruit was born in a remote Himalayan village. He lost his sister to treatable tuberculosis when he was 17. The tragedy imbued him with the belief that everyone, regardless of income, deserved quality healthcare. He decided to direct his energies toward the treatment of cataracts – a condition responsible for half of all global blindness cases. Cataracts are easily treatable in developed regions, but treatment is difficult and prohibitively expensive in poorer parts of the world.
Dr Ruit had performed eye treatment camps in China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and even North Korea also. (By Purna N. Ranjitkar)