KCCO awarded esteemed Champalimaud Award

10 Sep 2015
Penny Lyons from Seva Canada, Paul Courtright from KCCO, Jack Blanks from Seva Foundation and Aníbal Cavaco Silva the president of Portugal on stage ©Marty Spencer

ICTC member KCCO was one of three organizations honored as the 2015 recipients of the António Champalimaud Vision Award — a prize worth €1 million (US$1.3 million) — for their collaboration to fight blindness and poverty in Africa.

For the past 14 years, the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Seva Canada and Seva Foundation have partnered to achieve a common mission of providing access to high quality eye care for everyone in Africa. On 7 September 2015, they were jointly awarded the 2015 António Champalimaud Vision Award by the The Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Champalimaud Foundation, created in 2005 by the last will and testament of António de Sommer Champalimaud, focuses on cutting-edge research and strives to stimulate new discoveries and knowledge which can improve the health and well-being of people around the world.

The António Champalimaud Vision Award is given for contributions to the alleviation of visual problems, primarily in developing countries. The recipients of the award are productive laboratories/organisations or collaborative efforts and this may involve groups from more than one institution or discipline, as was the case with the three-way partnership between KCCO, Seva Canada and Seva Foundation for our efforts in Africa.

The jury of the award consists of a distinguished panel of leading international scientists and of exceptional public figures involved in meeting the needs of the developing world. The €1 million euro award may be used in any way that furthers the outstanding contribution of the recipients.

Working in developing countries, KCCO creates sustainable cost-recovery eye care models to strengthen health systems to provide high-quality eye care now and into the future. As a result of this long-term approach, African programs have quadrupled the number of people receiving sight-restoring surgery while improving their own organizational and financial sustainability.

In addition to international efforts, KCCO’s operational research initiatives have led to strategies to overcome gender, economic and geographic barriers to ensure universal access to eye care is available for all. KCCO has also focused on generating evidence for appropriate training and use of human resources for eye care. The Champalimaud Foundation also recognized the work KCCO has carried out to develop preferred practice manuals related to childhood cataract, low vision and trachoma.

Paul Courtright, KCCO Co-Director, said: "We are thrilled and incredibly honoured to be receiving this recognition of our work by the Champalimaud Foundation. We extend our deepest thanks to all our donors, supporters, partners, staff and colleagues for their contributions to our work."