New annual review
Our new annual review is available here.
A huge ‘welcome’ to our 2020/2021 Boulter Fellows, Mildred, Eunice, Ruth, Idriss, Ally and Gladys, at the start of their Master of Science Degree in Public Health for Eye Care at ICEH. It is an unusual year, as our fellows have had to start their studies remotely in their own countries, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leona, Tanzania and Uganda due to the global pandemic. Please join us in wishing them every success with their studies
BCPB has a new Chairman!
Mr Michael Burdon began his term of office as a BCPB Trustee in July 2020, and has now become Chairman of the Council, as Paul Hunter retires after six years.
Mr Burdon is a consultant ophthalmologist with a specialist interest in neuro-ophthalmology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He trained in medicine in London, and then in ophthalmology at Oxford, Birmingham, Brisbane, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and Moorfields Eye Hospital.
His decision to train as an eye surgeon was heavily influenced by observing cataract surgery at Kisiizi Hospital, Uganda during a student elective in 1985. He has maintained a considerable interest in international ophthalmology throughout his career and in 2007, with the support of the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH), he established a formal link between his eye department and that of Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania. This link has helped to train Tanzanian ophthalmologists, develop subspecialty ophthalmology services, and support clinical research.
He has served at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists for 10 years, most recently as President from 2017 to 2020. He was instrumental in establishing the College’s link with the College of Ophthalmology of East, Central and Southern Africa, (COECSA) and has supported this work by delivering training in examinations, research development, and speaking at COECSA’s annual congresses. He continues to work with the ICEH to support the international Links programme.
He has held a variety of additional leadership roles, including Chairman of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence cataract guideline development committee, and has worked with a number of sight related charities advocating for better access to eye services and support for the visually impaired.
Royal Parks Half Marathon
BCPB has a place for the London Royal Parks Half Marathon on 11th April 2021. If you would like to run and raise money for our blindness prevention work please contact email@example.com
BCPB Grants 2020
We are sorry to announce that due to the impacts and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, BCPB will not be inviting any grant applications during 2020.
BCPB appoints new Trustee
Michael Burdon begins his term of office as a BCPB Trustee in July 2020, and in October 2020 will become Chairman of the Council when Paul Hunter retires after six years.
Our Chairman has reached the summit
Paul Hunter has reached the summit of his home Mount Everest and has raised over £5,000 for our blindness prevention work in the developing world.
Small Charities Coalition news
BCPB are now proud members of the Small Charities Coalition
A special challenge in challenging times
BCPB’s Chair, Paul Hunter will be climbing Mount Everest at home via his stairs during lock down to raise vital funds for our blindness prevention work. If you would like to support his huge effort please visit https://justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-hunter75…
World Glaucoma Week
This week is World Glaucoma Week BCPB are proud to have supported glaucoma projects for over 40 years in low income countries.
Congratulations to BCPB’s Boulter Fellows
BCPB would like to congratulate our Boulter Fellows who have graduated from their MSc Public Health for Eye Care at the International Centre for Eye Health
Boulter Fellows present at Alumni event
Well done to to our Boulter Fellows for their great presentations, we look forward to seeing how you translate the skills you have learnt on your course into blindness prevention work in your home countries.
Fundraise for BCPB
Thinking of doing something different this year? Why not undertake a challenge and raise money for our blindness prevention work. For inspiration please see our new A-Z of fundraising ideas https://bcpb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/BCPBs-A-to-Z-of-fundraising-ideas-1.pdf
New World Health Organsation Report on World Vision
More than 1,000,000,000 people have no access to eye care. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a plan to ensure everyone has access to quality eyecare—we must act now!
BCPB welcomes three new trustees
We are delighted to announce the appointment of three new trustees to our Board. They bring a wealth of experience in ophthalmology and knowledge of blindness prevention in the developing world. Our new trustees are Professor Peter Scanlon – Clinical Director of the English NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Gloucestershire Eye Unit & Oxford Eye Hospital, Miss Winifred Nolan – Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Glaucoma Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital and Honorary Associate Professor at the International Centre for Eye Health, and Mr John Salmon – Consultant Ophthalmologist at Oxford Eye Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Oxford. We welcome them to our organisation and look forward to working with them.
Our 2018/19 annual review highlights the impact BCPB is making on blindness prevention in the developing world and you can read it here
Ground-breaking achievements in blindness prevention
There’s a BCPB article in ‘Eye News’. You can read it here.
Our new Boulter Fellows
We are delighted that seven Boulter Fellows, part funded by BCPB, have commenced their studies on the 2019-20 masters’ degree course in Public Health for Eye Care at the International Centre for Eye Health in London.
Left to right: Egbula Eni (Nigeria), Swati Zawar (India), Winston Prakash Deveraj (India), Lilian Nyaboga (Kenya), Cynthia Ogundo (Kenya), Nanaishat Momoh (Nigeria), Dange Abubakar (Nigeria).
BCPB’S new Trustees
BCPB is delighted to announce the appointment of three new trustees to our Board. They bring a wide range of skills and experience and are from varying backgrounds, achieving our aim of a diverse Board making better decisions and improving our governance. Our new trustees are Patrick Franklin – company director and volunteer BCPB fundraiser, Dr Patrick Igulot – lecturer in health & social care at Sunderland University in London, and Elmien Wolvaardt – editor of Community Eye Health Journal at the International Centre for Eye Health. We welcome them to our organisation and look forward to working with them.
Blindness Prevention in Action – our new annual review is now available.
Our 2017/18 annual review highlights the impact BCPB is making on blindness prevention in the developing world and you can read it here
World Sight Day 11 October 2018 – BCPB’s impact on preventing blindness
On World Sight Day 2018 BCPB’s Fundraising Manager Emma McGuigan speaks about our work and why she thinks research into preventing blindness is important. Watch on youtube
Quicker, safer and cheaper eye surgery training
BCPB is supporting a project that is trialling an accelerated simulation method to see if we can train eye health professionals in glaucoma and cataract surgery quicker, more safely and cheaper to meet the demand for highly skilled surgeons in Sub-Saharan Africa. Here is a short video of Dr Dean from LSHTM who is leading the project setting up for a training session. Watch on youtube
Patrick and Sue Franklin’s 250 mile sponsored walk
Patrick and Sue Franklin completed an incredible 250 mile sponsored circumnavigation of the Llyn Peninsular and Anglesey in June/July 2018. They raised a staggering £11,500 which they donated to BCPB. Update: Our heartfelt thanks go out to Sue and Patrick – they have raised £11,000 for BCPB !
Tanzania Health Ministry to include eye health in childhood illness management programme
Thanks to work supported by BCPB and carried out by Dr Aeesha Malik and Professor Clare Gilbert, of the International Centre for Eye Health in London, the Ministry of Health in Tanzania have agreed to include a child eye health module into their Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Programme.
This programme trains primary healthcare workers to spot health issues in children from birth to five years old, but to date eye health has not been included. By adding an eye health module to this training, primary healthcare workers will be able to ensure that children in Tanzania are referred and treated for eye problems as early as possible and prevent blindness.
Inspirational speech given by past BCPB grantee
BCPB grantee Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Founder of Peek Vision, recently gave an inspirational speech at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on his work in fighting preventable blindness. Peek was funded by BCPB in 2012 and through our support Dr Bastawrous was able to validate the use of smartphones for the diagnosis of eye diseases in Kenya. This work has gone on to be implemented in many countries and is now being used in Botswana to screen every child for eye diseases, a first for any country in the world. Peek are developing a long lasting legacy for preventable blindness. See his speech on youtube here
BCPB supports simulation-based ophthalmic surgical training
Over the next two years a project led by Dr William Dean of The International Centre for Eye Health in London, supported by BCPB, will use simulation-based ophthalmic surgical training for the first time to train over 100 trainee eye doctors from Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to prove that this method can train eye surgeons more quickly, safely, and effectively to start addressing the huge issue of avoidable blindness in this region caused by glaucoma and cataracts. One of the trainees told Dr Dean “I found the sustained practice was beneficial and I felt like I improved over the course of the week, slowly building skills and confidence.” More information about Dr Dean’s project is available from BCPB’s Fundraising Manager Emma McGuigan –firstname.lastname@example.org
Building Research Capacity
Over the past year we have been building research capacity through the VISION 2020 LINKS Programme. With support of the ICEH through our Research Mentorship Programme we have been working with the College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) to support researchers in order to solve some of the most pressing blindness issues in this region. We are pleased to report that this project has had a very successful first year and we look forward to continuing to support our research mentees, Stephen Gichuhi from Nairobi, Simon Arunga from Mbarara and Godfrey Furahini, from Tanzania over the next year. More information on the project is available from the BCPB office – email@example.com
Our New Annual Review
BCPB’s annual review 2016/17 is now available. Click here to open/download.
New trustee Richard Wormald joins BCPB’s board
BCPB’s trustees are delighted to welcome Mr Richard Wormald, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and senior lecturer at University College London and the International Centre for Eye Health. He was Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group which has now published more than 200 systematic reviews of eye health interventions on the Cochrane Library Editorial board of the following journals – Ophthalmology, Ophthalmic Epidemiology, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Biomed Central Ophthalmology and Journal of Community Eye Health. He is a trustee of Fred Hollows UK, and a former trustee of Sightsavers International and Vision 2020 UK.
BCPB’s new Boulter Fellows start their MSc course at the International Centre for Eye Health
We welcome our new Boulter Fellows to the UK – Rebecca Oenga (Kenya), Ahmed Bako (Nigeria), Subeesh Kuyyadiyil (India) and Funmilayo Oyediji (Nigeria) – for the start of their MSc course in Public Health for Eye Care.
BCPB’s New Fundraising Manager
We are delighted to welcome our new Fundraising Manager Emma McGuigan. She brings over ten years’ experience in charity fundraising and is excited to be joining the BCPB team.
NCVO: Championing the voluntary sector
BCPB has joined the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, known as NCVO, which champions the voluntary sector and volunteering by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations.
40 years of Blindness Prevention
BCPB celebrated 40 years of blindness prevention at an Anniversary Reception attended by donors, luminaries from the world of ophthalmology, current and former trustees, friends and colleagues. Chairman Paul Hunter traced the history of the charity going back to 1976, referring to our grants programme and highlighting the cascade effect when eye care workers from the developing world receive Boulter Fellowships from BCPB to study for an MSc in public health for eye care at the International Centre for Eye Health in London. On returning to their home countries they pass on their training and skills to others – showing that the funding we provide benefits many more people than the original recipient. Mr Hunter emphasised that although BCPB is a very small charity, we have a big ambition to make a difference to an enormous problem: by choosing to focus our limited resources on long-term interventions through our backing of research, education and training in those parts of the world where the need is greatest and resources are limited.Professor Stephen Vernon, Vice-President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, grantee Dr Ian Murdoch, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields and researcher at the Institute of Ophthalmology, and Boulter Fellow Dr Noela Prasad also spoke.
BCPB has a new Treasurer
Stephen Brooker has stepped down as BCPB’s Treasurer after 13 years of service for which we thank him and pay tribute to his wise and supportive contribution. He is succeeded by Afzal Ismail who is Head of the Finance, Treasury and Tax audit team for Barclays Bank. He joined Barclays Internal Audit in May 2010 with responsibility for audit coverage of the Investment Bank’s Global FX and Commodities Trading activities and then in 2012 transferred to Johannesburg where he headed the Barclays Africa Corporate & Investment Bank audit team until the end of 2014. Prior to Barclays, Afzal has spent his career primarily focusing on Investment Banking Audit at Standardbank, Merrill Lynch, and as part of KPMG’s Internal Audit Services practice, both in London and the Middle East. Afzal holds a Masters degree in Finance from Strathclyde University, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1995.
BCPB’s New Advisory Panel Chairman
Professor Paul Foster has now completed his term of office as Chairman of the Advisory Panel and is succeeded by Professor John Sparrow.
He has been a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Bristol Eye Hospital for over 20 years and has an Honorary Personal Chair as Professor of Ophthalmic Health Services Research and Applied Epidemiology at the University of Bristol. He has Chaired and served on various Royal College of Ophthalmologists committees, Chaired NICE Glaucoma Guideline and Quality Standards Committees, was Connecting for Health’s National Clinical Lead for Ophthalmology, Chair of the UK and Eire Glaucoma Society, and co-founder of the College facilitated National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) project, and since 2014 has been the Clinical Lead for the HQIP funded National Ophthalmology Audit project. He has raised around £7M in research funding and currently leads the first clinically initiated and clinically driven NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research addressing an ophthalmological topic.
AMRC awards best practice certificate to BCPB
In order to ensure that the research BCPB funds is the highest scientific quality, our awards are made on a fully competitive and peer reviewed basis. This allows a rigorous, fair and transparent selection process, and ensures that our projects are in line with VISION 2020 objectives – to eliminate avoidable blindness.
BCPB is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and complies with its guidelines for best practice. In April 2016 the AMRC confirmed that BCPB has passed the AMRC’s 2015 Peer Review Audit.
New Chairman for BCPB
BCPB are delighted to announce that Mr Paul Hunter MA FRCP FRCS FRCOphth, has accepted the Chairmanship of the charity following the retirement of Dr Jeffrey Jay CBE.
Mr Hunter has had a distinguished career in ophthalmology and his previous appointments include Consultant Ophthalmologist at King’s College Hospital, London where he was in charge of the corneal service. As well as being in active clinical practice, he was closely involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education both at King’s and through his work with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
He served as President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists from 2000 to 2003.
He has authored numerous scientific publications, and a textbook “Atlas of Clinical Ophthalmology”. He has also lectured extensively both in the UK and abroad on corneal disease and related subjects.
He has been married to Lizzie for 44 years and has two children and three grandchildren.
We are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). All AMRC members support the AMRC position statement on the use of animals in research.
Make My Day Better
Richard and Judy support BCPB
We are delighted that celebrity husband and wife team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are giving their support to BCPB and our work.
Judy says: ‘Unless it’s happened to you, it’s hard to imagine what losing your sight is like. It nearly happened to me and blindness runs in my family. I was incredibly fortunate to have kept my sight so I know how important it is to help children and adults receive preventative treatment too. BCPB do this every day, both in Europe and the developing world. Please donate today so they can continue.’
And Richard comments: ‘Both Judy and I have seen at close quarters the impact of losing your sight. Judy nearly lost her sight a few years ago through a detached retina and it’s hard to describe what that was like for her and our family. BCPB helps prevent and treat blindness in thousands of children and adults around the world. Please help them continue by making a donation today.’
Fearless Grandmother Leaps From Plane To Support BCPB!
Grandmother Susan Ritchie tells the story of her parachute jump for BCPB. Elaine, my best friend for the last 31 years, has retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease that leads to loss of vision and blindness), and I wanted to raise money to support a blindness prevention charity. I decided to do a parachute jump, and have been using online social networking to help me advertise it.
When I got to the Heliport in Lowestoft on 6 August I was concerned that my jump would be cancelled due to the heavy rain. Other people started arriving and were excited, but also disappointed because of the weather. During the briefing I kept thinking that the rain was never going to stop, I thought, how can I return home and have to tell everyone I couldn’t jump today, after the build-up, after everyone supporting me, there was no way I wanted this to be cancelled. All of a sudden there was a break in the sky, the rain seemed to be stopping and the sun was trying to peer through. I was like a kid who had never seen the sun before, I pointed up and called out, “look there’s the sun”, it all seems silly now but at the time I was so happy and so was everyone else. We got into our jumpsuits and harnesses and I was introduced to Rob, my tandem partner and Paul my camera man, and within minutes I was being ushered on to the aircraft, I had no time to think, no time to analyse my feelings, it was like I was now in a dream. I was strapped on to Rob, sitting on the floor and the aircraft took off, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, I was last on board, there were only 10 of us on the aircraft and it was full – four of us jumping with our tandem guys and two camera guys. So now we are up in the air, and I was being asked to shuffle forward, I’ve just realised that I am first off, so I had no time to feel anything. Then at the doorway, and I was out. Oh my gosh, what a rush, my stomach had left my body! I could see Paul in front of me, I was trying to remember the instructions, but couldn’t think. Thumbs up, then the parachute surged me up, wow! It felt like everything inside me also surged up and hit the top of my head, my ears popped, then came the calm. I was able to enjoy the views, it was absolutely wonderful. When Rob turned, my stomach turned too! It was exhilarating, I wanted to stay up there forever – the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the ground was faraway. Before I knew it we were getting ready to land, Rob told me to grab my legs and hold them up. He took the landing, and I arrived on my bottom, it was very gentle, I expected it to be bumpy. Once on the ground Rob unharnessed and we both stood up, I wanted to jump into his arms and give him the biggest hug. We shook hands and said our thanks, and he was off running for his next tandem. I watched the others jump and it was then it hit me – I DID IT! I had jumped 13,000 feet! Watching the DVDs and looking at the photos with my family they are all very proud of me. My grandson, who is 4 years old and into aeroplanes at the moment, is in awe that his nanny has jumped out of a plane!
Laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy in Malawi.
BCPB has awarded a grant of £59,570 to Dr Nicholas Beare of Liverpool University for an investigation into laser treatment of diabetic retinopathy in Malawi. Studies suggest diabetes is as common in resource-poor African countries as it is in the UK, but over 95% is undiagnosed and untreated. As sight-threatening diabetic eye disease takes 5-15 years to develop, an epidemic is feared – for which local eye services are unprepared. The researchers have found sight-threatening eye disease in more than 1 in 5 patients attending the clinic in Blantyre, Malawi. They have two well-characterised groups of diabetic patients, with graded diabetic retinopathy (DR), who have had laser treatment over the last 6 years. Those treated in 2011-12 are in active follow-up. They aim to evaluate the response to laser treatment in the Malawian population and investigate its cost-effectiveness . The knowledge gained will inform a grant application for a more extensive three year study examining 3 and 5 year outcomes. This is needed for locally relevant service development and planning.
Eyephones On Film.
October 2013 – updated March 2014
In May 2012 we posted a story describing an exciting new project funded by BCPB: Eye Phones to Prevent Blindness in Low Income Countries? The researchers, led by Andrew Bastawrous, are testing the use of specially adapted smartphones (‘eyephones’) to make diagnoses of blinding disease in low income countries.This short film describes Andrew Bastawrous’ Portable Eye Examination Kit (PEEK) and how it could revolutionise access to accurate diagnosis of visual impairment in the poorest countries. It could be 100 times cheaper than conventional testing: youtu.be/E5c_0XVde-g
New Research Mentorship Awards.
The British Council for Prevention of Blindness is launching research mentorship awards. These will build research links between hospitals and universities in developing countries and UK universities or NHS Trusts, with the goal of building research capacity. Successful projects will further the goals of ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’, the elimination of avoidable blindness in low-income countries. Grants between £5,000 and £15,000 will be awarded to enable applicants from developing countries with a colleague or mentor in the UK to work together to develop a research project. For applicants who do not have a contact in the UK, BCPB is building a database of specialist ‘BCPB mentors’ who work in a variety of fields of ophthalmic and vision science.
New appointed Chair of BCPB’s Advisory Panel.
Professor Paul Foster, a BCPB trustee and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology & Glaucoma Studies at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, has been appointed Chair of BCPB’s Advisory Panel, which selects the best research projects to recommend for funding. He succeeds Professor James Morgan, of Cardiff University, who retired in April 2012 having completed his 6-year term of office on the Panel. Professor Foster is now working on the current round of grant applications, which were received in October 2012.
AMRC awards best practice certificate to BCPB.
In order to ensure that the research BCPB funds is the highest scientific quality, our awards are made on a fully competitive and peer reviewed basis. This allows a rigorous, fair and transparent selection process, and ensures that our projects are in line with VISION 2020 objectives – to eliminate avoidable blindness. BCPB is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and complies with its guidelines for best practice. In November 2012 the AMRC confirmed that BCPB has passed the AMRC’s 2011 Peer Review Audit.
BCPB smartphone diagnosis project featured in London Metro.
Andrew Bastawrous, whose research into smartphone diagnosis of blindness in developing countries is funded by BCPB (see Newsdesk May 2012) has won the Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2012. Jointly backed by Metro and the Medical Research Council (MRC) to promote excellent science writing, the Max Perutz Award was developed by the MRC 15 years ago to encourage its scientists to communicate their research to a wider audience. The competition was judged by MRC Chief Executive, Professor Sir John Savill; Metro’s Ben Gilliland; science writer and author Dr Jenny Rohn; GP and author Dr Margaret McCartney and the winner of last year’s award, Dr Amy Capes.Dr Bastawrous’ article ‘Studying blindess – There’s an app for that’ was described by the judges as doing ‘a great job of articulating the promise of his research’.
You can read the full article here: http://www.cosmonline.co.uk/blog/2012/09/23/max-perutz-science-writing-award-special
Eye Phones to Prevent Blindness in Low Income Countries?
BCPB is funding an exciting new project to assess the viability of using smartphones to make diagnoses of blinding disease in low income countries. It addresses an important and exciting issue concerning the use of mobile communication devices (smartphones) in the acquisition of ophthalmic data covering refraction, cataract and retinal disease and glaucoma. A recent BBC report highlighted the medical potential of smartphones in developing countries (see ‘Smart vision for mobile phones in the developing world at www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11374632). Although most of global blindness is concentrated in poor countries, these countries lack infrastructure and resources to tackle the problem. One of the biggest hurdles is, of course, cost. The equipment needed to make accurate eye examinations is costly, sensitive and bulky. Even where such equipment is available, it is not easy to transport to rural areas. But this may be changing. Smartphones have become increasingly sophisticated, and with inexpensive modifications now offer the potential to make diagnosis of eye disease possible. Right now, this is only a potential. What is needed is careful testing and evaluation, and that is exactly what this project will do.The researchers, led by Andrew Bastawrous, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will use smartphones to make examinations of 3000 people in Kenya, people originally examined in a previous project funded by BCPB (see BCPB Annual Review March 2011, pages 8 and 9). The patients are due to be re-examined in a follow-up study in 2012-2013. The diagnoses obtained by the specially adapted phones (using technology developed at LSHTM) will be compared with those obtained by the ‘gold standard’ methods – methods that rely on expensive specialist ophthalmic equipment. In this way, the reliability of smartphone diagnoses of eye disease including visual impairment, cataract, age related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy can be accurately assessed.The full project title is “Ophthalmology In Your Pocket: validating the use of smartphones for the diagnosis of eye diseases in Nakuru, Kenya” and BCPB is providing £59,980 of pump-priming funding.