Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes:
Hospitals Make Strides through the Global Sight Initiative Network

Committing to change is never easy — it is even more challenging when you and your organization don’t know how to create change. The Global Sight Initiative (GSI), of which Seva is a founding member, works to make change strategies available to eye hospitals around the world to increase the number of patients served. Initial results show that change is a good thing.

The GSI is an expansive network comprised of three collaborating international non-governmental organizations, 10 mentor institutions and 55 mentee hospitals. The network strives to increase the productivity of partner mentee hospitals to achieve our common goal of eliminating preventable and curable blindness. Through capacity building work, we identify promising methods of practice and increase the number of high quality, high volume and sustainable eye care services provided by hospitals in the GSI network.

Last month, Katie Judson, Seva’s Monitoring and Evaluation Program Coordinator, presented findings at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico from a four-year study on the impact of GSI’s change process for 25 eye care programs. Katie shared the overall positive results from the study which assessed several metrics, such as cataract surgeries completed and surgeries per ophthalmologist, as a way to understand the long-term effects of the GSI intervention.

The GSI impact study analyzed data from the first 25 hospitals in 10 countries around the world that have now participated in the mentoring process for four years. The study found that by the end of four years, hospitals had increased their productivity by an average of 69%. Eight of the hospitals even exceeded a 200% increase in productivity by the fourth year. The increase in productivity per surgeon was also substantial. Over half of the hospitals showed the number of surgeries performed per surgeon more than doubled. This means that over 100,000 more people can see again because of the changes implemented through GSI mentoring.

The results of the study point to the success of the GSI intervention. These findings are particularly encouraging because the capacity building methods which mentors employ vary from hospital to hospital. Each mentee receives a tailored approach depending on its needs — an important characteristic of the GSI network. What works to increase the number of children coming for glasses at a hospital in the mountains of Peru may not be effective for a hospital in the vast plains of Tanzania. Strategies for attracting and retaining well-trained staff may differ in Nepal as compared with Guatemala. For this reason, it is vital to have an extensive network of mentor hospitals that can provide different perspectives based on the realities of where and how they work. The broad success found through this impact study speaks to the effectiveness of diverse capacity building methods employed through GSI mentoring. Change is possible and it results in more people who will regain their sight and be able to see the world around them once again.

Above: Patient at Lumbini Eye Institute. Photo by Ellen Crystal.

The Global Sight Initiative Intervention

This change process, or “capacity building intervention,” focuses on challenges faced by many hospitals around the globe that are not performing up to their full potential. These hospitals are often located in low-income, high-need areas. They are capable of providing cataract surgeries and other services at a much higher rate, but need help to make the change. GSI funds mature, high performing institutions (mentors) to provide training, coaching, and systems development to these hospitals (mentees). The intervention focuses on priority needs of hospitals which typically include some combination of: increasing community awareness of the hospital services, expanding the number of trained staff, improving patient flow and quality of services, and boosting the number of people who receive sight-saving services. The intervention also addresses the financial health and governance of the mentee hospital to ensure its vitality and independence from outside funders over time.

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