The Countess of Wessex delighted locals as she made a solo visit to Bangladesh this week. The British royal, who is a Global Ambassador of the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, visited projects and organizations working to eradicate avoidable blindness. She was met by British High Commissioner Ms Alison Blake before she was introduced to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, at Gana Bhaban, the Prime Minister's official Residence. During her trip, Sophie also went to the Ispahani Islamic Eye Institute and Hospital in Dhaka, she met one-year-old Aizah, who was there for a routine check-up following previous laser surgery.
The 52-year-old showed off her maternal side as she also met a premature baby boy who was being examined following his previous successful surgery for retinopathy of prematurity. Sophie spent time speaking to various patients, and at one point was seen testing one child's vision by holding up two fingers. Prince Edward's wife was also re-introduced to paediatric nurse Mamota Adhikary, who she met on her previous visit in 2009.
After the outing, Sophie paid a visit to Fultola village to observe rural housewives and their treatment of diabetes. In Bangladesh, nearly 10 per cent of the population has diabetes, while it has been reported that the number of people going blind from the disease is set to double by 2030. The Countess then went on to BRAC - the world's largest non-governmental organisation - which is working in conjunction with Orbis to expand its eye care services working in communities. Sophie saw a demonstration of the work of a community worker and met with other members of staff.