Opportunity to Build Support for "One Million Eyes" Campaign
|This past year, Seva participated in the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York, one of only 25 global health organizations invited to attend. We were thrilled to have President Bill Clinton personally announce Seva's So One Million Eyes See Again campaign to a packed audience of heads of state, business executives, philanthropists and foundation heads, religious leaders, and original thinkers — including 10 of the last 16 Nobel Peace Laureates.|
President Clinton remarked, "What these people are doing is really important. Just think about restoring sight to a million people... a million women and girls will have their vision restored."
Launched by President Clinton as a non-partisan catalyst for action, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) brings together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.
Seva's Center for Innovation in Eye Care used the opportunity to gain support for its So One Million Eyes See Again campaign, an ambitious initiative to restore sight to millions of people worldwide by scaling up the capacity of 100 hospitals to perform one million more cataract sugeries annually.
"We're honored to be among the group of non-profits invited to present proposals at this year's CGI meeting," says Seva's Interim Executive Director, Deborah Moses. "It's a wonderful acknowledgement of Seva's leadership role in building innovative, sustainable eye care systems that can literally transform the lives of millions of people in need around the world."
Commitments to Action
CGI doesn't grant or collect direct donations to carry out projects. Instead, it works as a catalyst for action, matching up people who have resources with those who have capabilities to achieve results in the field.
The result is a "CGI Commitment" — a focused collaboration among individuals, organizations, corporations and governments who aim to improve the lives of the global family by translating good ideas into new, specific and measurable actions. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 commitments valued at $30 billion to improve more than 200 million lives in over 100 countries.
So One Million Eyes See Again
"CGI Commitments are typically large-scale efforts that aim to create change that can be sustained," explains Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, Director of Seva's Center for Innovation in Eye Care. "Our So One Million Eyes See Again Campaign is exactly that kind of project. Through our Global Sight Network, we will fuel the delivery of one million cataract surgeries and screen 10 million people for eye problems every year in low-income, developing countries by strengthening infrastructure, improving access to information, and co-developing sustainable services that will last generations. We need $10 million for the first phase of work, and that's what we're hoping to develop through our CGI Commitment."
At issue are the 45 million people, two-thirds of whom are women, who suffer from preventable blindness worldwide. Cataract remains the leading cause of blindness despite the fact that a simple 15-minute surgical procedure can restore sight immediately, making it one of the most cost-effective health interventions in developing nations according to the World Bank.
Seva will lead a global coalition of community eye-care facilities so that by 2015, one million more sight-restoring surgeries will be performed each year above current capacity. Additionally, more than 10 million people, including many women and girls, will be screened and treated each year for other eye problems. In total, over 200 million people will have increased access to eye care services by 2015 as a result of this commitment.
"We're taking the proven models of public heatlh eye care systems that we've developed with our partners over the years and using them in making a quantum leap in worldwide capacity," Dr. Gilbert continued. "The result is going to be that millions of people, women and girls in particular, who otherwise would be blind from cataract will now be able to go to school, return to work and care for their families. We think that's the kind of transformative change that CGI members are looking for, so I'm confident good things will come of our participation at the meeting."
For more information, visit the Clinton Global Initiative website.