Dr Ruit receives the top civilian award of Bahrain for his outstanding service to humanity through affordable eye care

Published On: February 22, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

The award carries a purse of $1 million along with certificate and gold medal

MANAMA (BAHRAIN), Feb 22: Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepali ophthalmologist, has been awarded with the prestigious Isa Award for Services to Humanity amidst a royal ceremony held at Isa Cultural Center at Al-Fateh Compound here in Manama on Tuesday. 

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa felicitated Dr Ruit with the Award that carries a purse of $1 million along with a certificate and a gold medal for the outstanding service to humanity.  Dr Ruit, who is the fifth recipient of this award, conferred every two years for individual or institution for their outstanding contribution to society through cost-effective cataract surgery in Nepal and a number of countries around the world.

Addressing the special event organized to felicitate Dr Ruit, Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa said the exceptional efforts of the distinguished ophthalmologist Dr Ruit are only one of the vivid and shining examples of the role of sincere intentions in achieving prosperity and human peace. "It is a pleasure to congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition of his valuable and influential works that have made him the most worthy recipient of this honor," he said. 

In his acceptance speech, Dr Ruit said that he is convinced that the Isa Award for Service to Humanity represents the true value of Bahrain and its people. He appreciated the organizer for their impartiality, inclusiveness and a serious attempt to find game changing humanitarian work even at the far flung grass-root level.

Dr Ruit said that it has been his life-long passion for service to humanity through curing needless blindness regardless of accessibility and affordability of the patients, thereby helping significantly reduce poverty. "I now feel that we have been able to touch the heart and soul of millions globally through our work," he further said as he received thunderous applause from those attending the event. 

Dr Ruit said the award will further increase the credibility of Tilganga Institute, Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation (TKRF) and Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) to scale up their work globally. "Tej and I have vowed to touch half a million surgeries or more in the next five years especially to those who cannot access and afford the surgery," he said. "I am sure that this award will further inspire serious humanitarian work being done in different parts of the world irrespective of their political, social, geographical and economical connectivity."

The Isa award was established in honor of the Late Amir, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain to honor individuals and organizations that have worked towards transforming the world through humanitarian action, and inspiring others to perform similar acts of compassion and innovation. Prior to this, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, the founder of the Malaysian Medical Relief Society, Dr. Achyuta Samanta, a noted social entrepreneur and reformer from India, the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt and the Edhi Foundation (Pakistan) have received this award. 

Addressing the award ceremony, Special Representative of Bahrain's King and Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa said they received 139 applications from individuals and institutions from various parts of the world for the Isa Award. "It is a matter of our happiness and pride as the Board of the Trustees of the position the award has achieved on the global scene," he said.

The Trustees of the Award had shortlisted five individuals and institutions out of 139 applications received from over the word with expertise and service in various sectors including education, health, community service, poverty alleviation and other humanitarian services for the 2021-22 award. The committee had short-listed five of them for further consideration. 

Dr. Ruit was awarded with this prestigious award for developing an innovative approach to treating cataracts and developing a new implantable lens that could be produced at a much lower price than its counterparts, allowing him to complete cataract surgery in significantly less time.

Dr Ruit and his team has performed more than 50,000 eye surgeries in Asia, Africa and his home country in the past 30 years. His Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, a non-profit and independent organization, operates two hospitals, 16 field centers, and mobile clinics that have assisted thousands of patients in various countries including Bhutan, Thailand, Pakistan, Ethiopia, China, India and North Korea.

The $1 million award will be utilized by Ruit’s foundation, which manufactures more than 350,000 lenses annually in a local factory, distributes them at a cost of $3 each. The Foundation plans to reach people in Ghana and Ethiopia this year for eye care treatment.

Bahrain's Minister for Information Dr Ramzan bin Abdulla Al Nuaimi said the Isa Award is being presented every two years to individuals or organizations chosen by an expert panel since it was established in February 2009 by the king of Bahrain. The award is established to recognize self-less contribution to humanity by individuals or any organizations. 

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