Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company, in collaboration with the Elena Barraquer Foundation and Ruta de la Luz, provides free cataract treatment in West Africa

Dr Andre supervises a cataract surgeon in The Gambia • Photo courtesy: HelpMeSee

The project, called “Let Your Eyes Enjoy”, seeks to improve the visual health of the citizens in Cape Verde, Guinea Conakry and Ghana. In total, more than 1,200 people have recovered their sight thanks to this initiative.

People in many countries face technological or economic barriers that prevent them from accessing treatment for cataracts. This is a sorry state of affairs given that cataracts are the most common cause of blindness globally and the condition can be treated with the right combination of knowledge, technology, logistics and teamwork. ‘Let your eyes enjoy’, a project spearheaded by the Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company, seeks to overcome these barriers. Through this project free treatment has been provided in different countries of West Africa for several years now. In collaboration with Elena Barraquer Foundation and Ruta de la Luz, this next edition will start in Cape Verde at the end of March, moving on to Guinea Conakry in April and finalizing in Ghana during the month of September.

The initiative represents the combined effort of three key collaborators. The role of Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the official bottler and distributor of Coca-Cola products in 13 countries in North and West Africa, is to prepare all the necessary groundwork for the surgeries to take place smoothly. For its part, the Elena Barraquer Foundation, a non-profit organization on a mission “to return eyesight to the greatest number of people”, will contribute its equipment and personnel to carry out the operations. Finally, Ruta de la Luz of the Cione Group of Opticians, a foundation that improves the visual health of disadvantaged populations, will give free eye tests and donate glasses in these communities.

Working together in this manner, the collaboration follows the ‘Golden Triangle’ partnership model, a structure aimed at leveraging the strengths and abilities of three groups: Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the wider Coca-Cola system; NGO partners like the Elena Barraquer Foundation, Ruta de la Luz and Medshare; and the governments of the countries where “Let your eyes enjoy” will take place.

“Here at ECCBC we are firmly committed to collaborating with the communities which we are a part of. Let Your Eyes Enjoy is a clear and solid example of our pledge to champion sustainability and the bettering of citizens’ lives,” says Juan de Rueda, Corporate Affairs Director at Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Similar actions have been carried out by Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company in partnership with the Barraquer Foundation, created in 2003 by the renowned Spanish ophthalmologist Professor Joaquín Barraquer, together with his son Rafael and daughter Elena. It is Elena who now heads the Elena Barraquer Foundation, which has chosen to give continuity to over 5 years of collaboration between the family and the African Coca-Cola bottler. Both organizations aim to do more and more to improve the visual health of the less fortunate citizens of the world.

About ECCBC

Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company (ECCBC) started in 1989 in Africa with the concession of Equatorial Guinea. Subsequently, other countries such as Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia, joined the venture. ECCBC was founded in 1997 as a new company to combine the operations of all these countries. In the last two decades, ECCBC has expanded operations to Ghana, Morocco and Algeria, and today operates in 13 countries in Africa and employs more than 5000 people. The organization produces, markets and distributes world famous soft drinks including Coke, Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite. ECCBC participates alongside The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation in projects that focus on improving education, the access to drinking water, health, entrepreneurial spirit and sustainability.

Source: ECCBC Communication Department

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About Cholo Brooks 6735 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.