Foresight’s Founder, Prof Billson receives a gold medal in Bangladesh
During the 47th anniversary of the Chittagong Eye Infirmary and Training Complex (CEITC) on the 10th February 2020, Prof Frank Billson was awarded a gold medal for his long-standing contribution to eye health and education for the people of Bangladesh. Prof Billson’s commitment to the country spanned over more than 40 years and after his first visit in Bangladesh that he founded Foresight in 1978 with the goal to prevent and cure blindness and empower communities through skills transfer, education and capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region. After just a few years, Foresight helped fund and build the CEITC which has become a Centre of Excellence in surgery, eye care and training, not just for Bangladesh, but for other countries in the region. In 2003 the facility celebrated the landmark of one million sight-saving operations. Today the CEITC sees 1,000 patients a day and performs 150 Cataract surgeries each day, six days per week. It has also provided medical and paramedical staff training for eight base eye hospitals in Bangladesh.
During the last four decades, Prof Billson’s focus has been largely focused on providing training and support for the hospital and provide eye care services for those people leaving in rural areas who generally do not have access to any valuable health assistance.
Going back to Bangladesh this year and being invited to receive this award, it has been a privilege for Prof Billson who was delighted to see his former students as well as meet the current students of the training facility. At the same time, the locals were also thrilled to have him back and inspired once again by his teaching as he shared some of his stories and tips to young doctors.