The Foundation congratulates master surgeon Dr Sanduk Ruit, a long time friend and colleague of Fred Hollows, on receiving one of Nepal’s greatest honours.

It was announced on the recently celebrated Republic Day that Dr Ruit has been honoured with the Ujjwol Kirtimaya Rashtra Deep  award for his medical contribution.

Fundraising by The Foundation and the Nepal Eye Program Australia, which Dr Ruit helped launch, supported the development of Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu more than 16 years ago.

The Foundation’s CEO Brian Doolan said the award acknowledges Dr Ruit’s extensive personal and professional achievements. Dr Ruit has personally performed over 100,000 sight saving operations.

“This prestigious accolade celebrates the tens of thousands of lives Dr Ruit has transformed through surgery, and his status as a leader in the world medical community,” Brian says.

“I know Fred would be very proud that his great friend and medical colleague has been recognised with this award, given only to a handful of Nepal’s most outstanding citizens.”

A long and extraordinary friendship and professional partnership was kindled when Fred, as a World Health Organisation consultant, visited the Nepalese Prevention of Blindness Program where Dr Ruit was a Medical Officer, in the mid-1980s.

Born in a poor, remote Nepalese village, the leading surgeon attended an English school in India before being selected to study medicine at King George Medical School in Lucknow and then completing ophthalmology training at the All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi.

Early last year Tilganga underwent a significant upgrade, launching as the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) in April 2009.

Tilganga chairperson Jagadish Ghimire and board member Hari Bansha Acharya also received awards for their services to community eye health. Prominent posthumous awardees also included a freedom fighter and two former prime ministers.

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