CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 25, 2012) - A high-quality eye care facility is being opened today just outside of Accra, Ghana thanks in large part to Calgary's philanthropic Taylor family.
Their donation to Operation Eyesight Universal, a Calgary-based international development organization dedicated to the elimination of avoidable blindness, was instrumental in the building of the new Watborg Eye Services facilities, an advanced secondary eye care facility in Ghana's Central Province. The Canadian International Development Agency is also a key partner. Watborg is led by Dr. Boateng Wiafe, a Ghanaian ophthalmologist and Operation Eyesight's regional director for Africa. The hospital will be part of a country-wide collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Government of Ghana to provide quality eye care to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.
"The Taylors' very generous donation for Watborg's new facilities will strengthen Ghana's eye care system and ensure those living in the area, regardless of income, have access to the best possible care," says Pat Ferguson, president and CEO, Operation Eyesight. "Operation Eyesight is focused on building support for sustainable eye health initiatives among threatened populations in Africa and India. For the poor in these countries, visual impairment is more than a disability - it's a direct threat to life."
"It is easy for our family to make a donation from the comforts of Canada," explains Cameron Taylor, son of Don Taylor. "However, it is the efforts of Operation Eyesight and, in particular, Dr. Wiafe that deserve the recognition. Without their tireless perseverance, our small gesture would lack the sustainability to make a real impact."
The new Watborg facilities will initially serve about one million residents in Awutu Breku, Ghana and the surrounding areas, with the goal of expanding its reach over time. Services include medical and surgical care for those afflicted with eye diseases; training programs; outreach programs for school screening, diagnostic and treatment services; and education to increase the awareness of blindness as a major public health issue. Watborg is designed to be a model based on international standards that can be replicated in other African countries.
World Health Organization statistics released in 2011 confirm that 80 percent of visual impairment is due to avoidable causes - problems that could be prevented, treated or cured using known and cost-effective methods. Of Ghana's 23 million residents, more than 200,000 are blind, most from avoidable causes.
Don Taylor became president of Calgary's Engineered Air in 1966 and grew the once-small heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment manufacturer into a market leader in North America. He has also had a number of successful ventures in the real estate and energy sectors. Don's wife Ruth is a respected educator, his son David is now the president of Engineered Air and his son Cameron is the president of Sherwood International Capital Limited.
Operation Eyesight is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness in parts of the developing world. It works with medical professionals and communities in Africa and India to help provide quality eye care programs and sustainable community development. Since 1963, through the support of its donors, millions of the world's poorest people have had their sight restored or protected. To learn more about Operation Eyesight's work, visit www.operationeyesight.com.