OPN  Dr. Sanduk Ruit
Dr Sanduk Ruit speaking at a medical conclave. The cataract surgery lenses manufactured by his centres are provided to over thirty countries at very low cost. Image Credit: Source Wikimedia Commons

Manama, Bahrain: Noted Nepali eye surgeon, Dr Sanduk Ruit, has received this year’s Isa Award for Service to Humanity.

The prestigious award, given every two years by the Kingdom of Bahrain, covers 11 categories including disaster prevention and relief, education, and human tolerance.

The winner of the award, a first of its kind in the Arab world, receives a gold medal and $1 million cash amount.

Among the nominees this year were the WHO foundation but the jury chose Dr Ruit, who has helped restore the sight of over 180,000 people in Asia and other parts of the world, using his low-cost small-incision cataract surgery technique.

opn Isa Award For Service to Humanity
Isa Award For Service to Humanity Image Credit: Isa Award For Service to Humanity

Making the announcement, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Special Representative of His Majesty the King and Board of Trustees Chairman, said there were 139 nominations for the award this year. “The Nepali ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit was recognised for his service to the community and achievements,” he remarked.

OPN Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa
Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Special Representative of His Majesty the King of Bahrain Image Credit: Source: Govt of Bahrain

Speaking on the occasion, Ali Abdullah Khalifa, Secretary General of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, said the award was being conferred upon Dr Ruit for his novel approach to treating cataracts. “He was able to save the sight of hundreds of thousands of people who would have otherwise gone blind,” the Secretary General noted.

Ali Abdullah Khalifa, Secretary General of Isa Awards, in conversation with Gulf News Gulf News
Previous winners
The Award has previously been granted to Jemilah Mahmoud, the founder of the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia), Dr Achyuta Samanta, the founder of India's Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, the Children's Cancer Hospital Foundation in Egypt, and the EDHI Foundation of Pakistan

Who is Dr Sanduk Ruit?

Born in a remote area of Nepal, Ruit got his medical education in India through a scholarship. He came back to Nepal and joined as a government health officer.

Ruit went for research to Australia where he mastered the latest techniques in cataract microsurgery, using implanted intraocular lenses.

Ruit returned to Nepal and introduced the new techniques in his country in 1988. Brilliant and innovative, his landmark technique helped countless people get cheap but high-quality lenses.

OPN  Dr. Sanduk Ruit
Dr Ruit is a MD in Ophthalmology from the All India India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)

In a service spanning more than 30 years, he set up centres that provided not only eye-care services but also manufactured extremely high-quality intraocular lenses for surgery for less than $3 apiece.

Over the years Dr Ruit’s mobile eye camps have expanded to China, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, North Korea among other places.

He has also performed more than 50,000 eye surgeries and procedures at no charge to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them.

Dr Ruit has previously won the Ramon Magsaysay award (2006), Order of Australia (2007) and Padma Shri Award in India (2018).