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Since 1978 Seva has been providing sight saving surgeries, eyeglasses, medicine and other eye care services to more than 50 million people in underserved communities.
Today in Guatemala almost 650,000 people suffer from vision loss from treatable conditions.
Existing service networks are not efficient enough to meet the demand. Travel to distant cities is an insurmountable barrier to the rural poor, including indigenous persons. Affordable treatments exist for cataracts and other causes of preventable blindness.
The problem is access to treatment.
With Guatemala Brillando, Seva is poised to establish five new hospitals and 30 vision centers bringing primary eye care to rural and other areas that are currently underserved. Seva will develop sustainable programs which create jobs for local women and men to help them provide critical services to their home communities.
This project will not only restore sight to Guatemalans but will give them back their dignity and independence. The impact on their families and communities will be multi-fold as they become able to study, to work, and to lift themselves out of poverty.
Together we can end avoidable blindness in Guatemala.
Special thanks (in order of video appearance) to Elvis Costello, Eric Krasno, Nicki Bluhm, Jackson Browne, Lukas Nelson, Jorma Kaukonen, Ben Fong-Torres, Steve Earle, John Popper, Oteil Burbridge, Bill Walton, Maria Muldaur, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.
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Seva and partners have established 131 Primary Eye Care Vision Centers globally since 2017. These provide an entry point to eye care, an extension of eye hospitals with 1-3 trained staff who perform eye exams, refraction, glasses, and referral to hospitals.
Seva and partners provide formal and informal training of ophthalmologists, allied ophthalmic personnel, and administrators. Seva and partners have developed and expanded Eyexcel and supported training of 18,941 clinicians, administrators, and community health promoters since 2017.
Seva focusses on eye care screenings for children in and out of school and provides surgery, glasses and treatment with a continuum of care.
Seva's focus is on patient care with prevention, detection and follow-up; information management; and distance learning. Seva has installed electronic management systems in more than 20 hospitals across India.
For impoverished people in the developing world, blindness or debilitating visual impairment are effectively a life sentence. Isolation from work and community activities steals their potential contributions. A loss of sight for one can trigger an economic crisis for the family.
Today, almost 650,000 Guatemalans suffer vision loss from treatable conditions. Yet most serious visual impairment can be solved with a simple 10-minute operation for cataracts — or a pair of eyeglasses. Existing service networks are not efficient enough to meet the demand. Travel to distant cities is an insurmountable barrier to the rural poor, including indigenous persons.
Affordable treatments exist for cataracts and other causes of preventable blindness. The problem is access to treatment.
The Global Sight Initiative (GSI) is Seva’s proven eye care delivery model comprised of collaborating international NGOs, mentor institutions and mentee hospitals. Each member plays a pivotal role in reaching our shared goal of eliminating preventable and curable blindness. One distinctive feature of the GSI is the use of trained paraprofessionals. This frees ophthalmologists to focus on surgeries and other complex procedures. The regional GSI care systems will increase access to eye care. Expanded efficiency and productivity will build capacity … and meet the need in Guatemala.
With $55 MILLION, Seva's GSI model can be scaled in Guatemala. It will not only restore and preserve sight for Guatemalans who suffer from cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other increasingly common conditions but also give them back their dignity and their independence. The impact on their families and communities would be multi-fold as they become able to study, work and lift themselves out of poverty.
Together with our partners, Seva is poised to eliminate preventable blindness in Guatemala within ten years. The blueprint we create will equip us to scale our evidence-based Global Sight Initiative (GSI) throughout Latin America.
A $1 MILLION INVESTMENT SUPPORTS SEVA in planting the initial seeds of a new local eye care system in Guatemala by establishing three PECVCs in three different departments of the Western Highlands area:
A $5 MILLION INVESTMENT SUPPORTS SEVA in establishing the first local node in the national eye care system – a local eye care system serving the Western Highlands area:
A $10 MILLION INVESTMENT SUPPORTS SEVA in creating the first regional node in the national eye care system – an eye care system serving both the northern and southern parts of the Occidente region.
Visualiza Clínica Médica Oftalmológica, known simply as Visualiza, is a leading eye hospital in Guatemala and the rural PetÚn region. Visualiza works to prevent and cure blindness caused by major conditions including cataract and refractive errors. Founded in 1997, the hospital has been actively refining its unique community-oriented low cost and free service system. Although Visualiza employs only 4% of the nation’s ophthalmologists, the organization performs over 36% of all cataract surgeries in Guatemala. Visualiza’s hospitals provide private care alongside free vision services for their low-income patients.
Seva has been partners with Visualiza since 2006. Seva works with Visualiza to spread their model of universal access to service. Through the Global Sight Initiative, Visualiza serves as a mentor to five mentee hospitals in Latin America. Through Focusing Philanthropy’s World Sight Day campaigns, Seva provides direct support for Vizualiza's clinical services and school screenings that help reduce avoidable blindness across Guatemala and restore sight to some of the country's most vulnerable populations, including women and children in rural communities. Seva is committed to augmenting Visualiza's service capacity with a focus on local staff development and management training. With Seva's ongoing support for skill-based training, Visualiza has become a resource to improve other eye care centers in Latin America.
For 25 years, Vision For the Poor has built sustainable eye care hospitals, empowered local eye care specialists, and funded essential ophthalmic infrastructure, serving over 150,000 patients in Guatemala every year.
American Indians suffer disproportionately from higher rates of preventable and treatable eye conditions due to a lack of access to affordable, quality eye care. Some of the most prominent barriers to care include poverty, geographic isolation, and the lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate eye care providers.
Seva’s goal with the American Indian Sight Initiative (AISI) is to improve eye health through collaborative, locally based partnerships. We focus on the most common and treatable eye health issues found in American Indian communities including the need for eye health screening, medical treatment, and eyeglasses. With local partners in New Mexico, Alaska, Washington, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, we are reducing the barriers to quality eye care in American Indian communities.
Last year, one of Seva’s AISI partners, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), provided care to more than 20,000 Native American patients in central Oklahoma. Among them was Skyler, a 22-year woman who was struggling with frequent headaches and poor vision. This led to many missed days of work and impacted her performance on the job. Despite having had these issues for some time, Skyler had not been able to get an eye exam for over five years because of stringent restrictions at her local eye care provider, which allowed care for only minor children, or senior citizens.
Through the partnership with Seva, OKCIC was able to expand their capacity for treatment by 33%, and allowed them to offer new services, including contact lenses. This in turn enabled OKCIC to drop patient restrictions and opened the door for Skyler to receive care. Since receiving her new pair of glasses, Skyler reports that her vision has vastly improved and now she can work all day on her computer without getting headaches.
Globally, 1.1 billion people live with vision impairment. In remote communities and developing countries, where access to eye care is limited, this can lead to generations of hardship. Today, we stand at an important moment in history – the beginning of the end of avoidable blindness, first in Guatemala, then across the world.
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