Top: A surgeon at Lumbini with her assistant remove a blinding cataract from a patient's eye.
Below, right: Lumbini Medical Director, Dr. Salma.
Throughout the day, the surgical team at Nepal's Lumbini Eye Institute will perform more than 100 cataract surgeries that will restore sight and transform lives.
In addition to the life-changing impact the surgeons have on each person they serve, this particular Seva-supported surgical team represents another major success—70% of the surgeons at Lumbini are women.
In Nepal, like much of the world, the surgical profession has traditionally been male dominated. Women face cultural and financial obstacles that make the road to becoming a surgeon much harder than for their male colleagues.
In order to overcome these barriers, Seva has actively identified and recruited promising female medical students and has supported their residency training in ophthalmology. "Seva knows that in order to create real change, we need women serving in leadership roles at eye care institutions throughout the developing world," explains Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, Senior Director of Seva's Innovation & Sight Program. She adds, "Lumbini is a perfect example. This institution was once run exclusively by men, but thanks to Seva's strategic support, Lumbini's leadership and surgical team today are mostly women." Lumbini also serves as a mentor institution and role model to other clinics and hospitals in Nepal.
When women serve as leaders on hospital surgical and executive teams, this sends a strong message that helps to open doors and break down barriers for the many women who will follow in their footsteps.
In developing countries, women and girls are far less likely to have access to eye care services because of the barriers they face. From lack of education and financial resources to limited decision-making power, Seva and our partners help women and girls overcome barriers.
Supporting women to become leaders in the field of eye care, and increasing women's access to eye care, are two of Seva's top priorities. We are proud to feature these five women and their inspirational stories.
In addition to the life-changing impact the surgeons have on each person they serve, this particular Seva-supported surgical team represents another major success 70% of the surgeons at Lumbini are women.
Thanks to leadership from Seva's Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has formed new working groups to take up two key issues in the Vision 2020 campaign to prevent blindness — gender and sustainability.
Every five seconds a person goes blind somewhere around the world, and every minute a child goes blind. Even more disturbing is the fact that two out of three people who are blind are women and girls; most of them living in areas of developing countries where they have limited and unequal access to sight restoring services.