Can one man change the life of thousands?
If you ask any of Dr. Ruit’s patients this question, chances are you’ll get a heartfelt, resounding, yes!There are 223 million people in the world with some kind of sight loss, but this huge number does not daunt Dr Sanduk Ruit. As an ophthalmologist, he has given back sight to over 120,000 people, and he refuses to stop now.
After graduating, Dr Ruit put his studies to good use as an innovator. He and his team in Nepal simplified cataract surgery with lens implantation so it could be affordable and accessible to poorer communities. At the same time, the lenses themselves became more affordable. A prior cost of $100 USD per pair reduced to $3.50 USD. This changed the way Dr Ruit could prevent blindness since cataract surgery is now one of the most cost-effective of all health interventions.
In 1994, the ever-smiling doctor founded the Tilganga Eye Center in Nepal, which provides access to cataract surgery and basic eye care to everyone. His efficient way of saving sight was not welcomed initially, but given the success it has had since then it is now being practised all over the world.
However, not everyone can make it to the Tilganga Institute since Nepal is such a sparse, mountainous country. Dr Ruit knows this just as well as anyone! So he took his equipment and set up mobile eye camps across Nepal, reaching out to rural communities that could not come to him. Hundreds of people usually turn up for eye care, and Dr Ruit makes do with operating in whatever shelter that village has available.
This doctor on a mission has now set up the Himalayan Cataract Project: a charity that helps fund the mobile eye camps and the Tilganga Eye Center. Thanks to his fundraising and incredible determination, he helps more and more people get their sight back every day. For him and his team, to overcome the challenges and help change the lives of people is what keeps them going.
So, yes, one man can indeed change thousands of lives. More power to Dr. Ruit and his team!