Funded by Wendy and Tej Kohli, the Tej Kohli Foundation is a non-profit organisation that was started in 2005 with the initial goal of helping disadvantaged children break free from poverty. Today the Tej Kohli Foundation is a multidisciplinary global hub for humanitarian technologists who are developing solutions to major global health challenges whilst also making direct interventions that transform individual lives around the world.
The Tej Kohli Foundation is best known for it's mission to eradicate corneal blindness worldwide by 2035. Visual impairment is a public health problem of global proportions. More than two hundred and eighty-five million people worldwide have some form of visual impairment. Thirty-nine million of them are blind. Ninety percent of those affected by blindness and severe visual impairment live in the poorest countries in the world. Fourteen million live in India alone. Yet a good proportion of worldwide blindness, including 75% of corneal disease, is curable.
Access to affordable treatment can only be achieved through systemic long-term efforts to create widespread availability of high quality eye care facilities that are delivered by people who have the resources, technical skills and compassion to handle diverse population segments.
Patients of the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute receive completely free treatment. In the last two years the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute has hosted more than one hundred and sixty-seven thousand outpatient visits, collected twenty-six thousand donor cornea and utilized nearly sixteen thousand corneas for transplants. The Institute undertook more than thirty-one thousand surgical procedures, delivered over seven hundred presentations, published one hundred and forty-eight publications and trained more than one hundred and twenty clinicians.
Blindness is heavily impacted by poverty. Between six and seven million of the twelve million people worldwide who are currently waiting for Cornea transplants live in India. Whilst the average age of a patient needing a corneal transplant in Canada is seventy-five, in India the average age is just sixteen years old, which severely impacts life prospects and outcomes.
By also taking education, treatment and preventative medicine directly to the poorer rural areas where sixty-six per cent of Indians live, the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute is able to additionally target these high-impact populations that are living with curable corneal blindness. At just one rural village location that is not reached by any charities or NGOs, the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute recently completed more than two thousand Cornea transplants during a single year.
Preventing and controlling and eliminating corneal blindness is also a global objective. Achieving this mission will require a scalable and affordable solution for the masses, and through the acquisition of proprietary new biotechnologies, philanthropist Tej Kohli is dedicated to making this a reality.
Through international collaboration between leading clinicians, technology pioneers and global hubs of excellence such as the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute, it is a now a visible reality that by 2030 avoidable corneal blindness could be controlled, reduced and then eradicated worldwide.