Leading Kenyan ophthalmologist Dr Hillary Rono was presented to Her Majesty The Queen at a special Reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 29th October to mark the completion of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust’s (the Trust) programmes to end avoidable blindness.
Dr. Rono is an ophthalmologist at the Eye Unit of Kitale District Hospital in the northern Rift Valley of Kenya. With approximately 120 eye specialists in Kenya, most based in Nairobi, Dr. Rono was, until 2015, the sole ophthalmologist working in rural Tranz Nzoia, West Pokot and Turkana with responsibility for more than 2 million people. He traveled to the United Kingdom to meet The Queen in recognition of his work with Peek Vision which is supported by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
Established as a time-limited charitable foundation by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2012 to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Trust has delivered a series of five-year programs aimed at enriching the lives of people in every country of the Commonwealth. Through its partnership with the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, the Trust supported Dr. Rono to study for a Ph.D. which looked at how Peek, a smartphone-based eye screening system, can carry out vision tests and use this technology to identify people with vision impairment wherever they are.
The Peek team recently won a prestigious Africa Union award for innovation, for having screened the eyes of all 200,000 school children in Trans Nzoia in just three years. Six thousand children were treated, and a trial is now underway to screen all ages, approximately 120,000 people in 36 different local regions, using the same technology. “This could be a world changer, ” Dr. Rono says.
Dr. Rono is featured in a new film and book about the Trust’s work. A Lasting Legacy tells the stories of individuals whose lives have changed as a result of the Trust.