Baby boy has sight treated after The Countess of Wessex spots problem
The Countess of Wessex with baby Junayed in Bangladesh last November (c) Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Baby boy has sight treated after The Countess of Wessex spots problem

On the occasion of the birthday of Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is delighted to announce that a baby, correctly identified as having strabismus – commonly known as a squint - by The Countess during a trip to see the Trust’s work in Bangladesh, has received treatment. 

Last November, in her capacity as Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, The Countess met with a group of women in the remote region of Barisal, Bangladesh, to see how through the Trust’s support, community awareness raising activities are being used to tackle growing rates of blindness caused by diabetes.

Whilst amongst the group, The Countess was introduced to Junayed, the seven-month-old baby of parents, Saidul and Fatima. The Countess instantly noticed Junayed had a squint or “strabismus” and was concerned that he needed treatment. 

Soon after her visit,the Fred Hollows Foundation, programme partner of the Trust, arranged for Junayed to receive timely treatment to ensure the sight in his affected eye was saved.

Before the Trust’s programme started in Bangladesh, people in rural communities had little or no access to quality eye health care. People who required treatment had to travel to Dhaka - a day’s journey by road or boat – making it almost inaccessible for those who need it most.

The Fred Hollows Foundation arranged for Junayed’s parents to be counselled about the hospital visit – a daunting and unknown experience for many people who live in such rural settings - to reassure them about the simple procedures involved.

On 10 January 2018, Junayed’s parents took him to the Shre-e Bangla Medical College and Hospital for treatment. Dr Md Ashiqur Rahman, Assistant Professor, provided the baby with free treatment, and advised that he receive further treatment again in six months’ time. Through the experience, Junayed’s parents learnt about the importance of eye care, and were freed of their previous anxieties. 

Dr Zareen Khair, Country Manager of the Fred Hollows Foundation Bangladesh said,

To Junayed’s parents’ surprise, the check-up and treatment process was not risky at all. They now understand that seeking eye care, be it at any age, is important and not at all troublesome.

Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of the Trust said,

It is such wonderful news to learn that Junayed has received successful treatment to correct his squint, a condition that is often not picked up in time for treatment to be effective.  As our Vice-Patron, and in her many other roles across eye health sector, The Countess has been instrumental in raising global awareness about the issue of avoidable blindness, and calling advocating for eye health access to people who need it most. The Countess was visibly moved by this little boy and I’m sure she will be thrilled that his condition is being treated. I can’t think of a better birthday present than knowing you’ve saved someone’s sight.