A note from Seva's Executive Director about COVID-19
We are weathering a storm together. The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the world and our lives every single day. We want you to know that in these difficult and uncertain times, our resolve to end avoidable blindness remains steadfast.
We are working with our partners worldwide to ensure that they have the support they need for their own safety as well as their staff and patients as they provide urgently needed emergency eye care. We are focused on resuming the full range of eye services: surgeries, glasses, medications and other care to meet local needs when it is safe to do so.
Today and everyday, Seva's work does not stop during this challenging time. Our teams world-wide are working tirelessly and remotely so that when this difficult time has passed, we are ready. Ready to transform lives by restoring sight.
It is our responsibility as individuals to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus. We encourage you to take the extra precautions necessary to safeguard your own health as well as the well being of those around you.
By the time you read this newsletter, I will have returned from the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England. The theme of this year's event is "The Power of Proximity." Here at Seva, we are well aware of the power of getting up close and personal, and how important it is to the work we do with and through our partners around the globe.
Community Health Workers Keep Their Eyes Open for People in Need
Community health workers (CHWs), many of them women, work at the vanguard of Seva's efforts to combat blindness in many regions around the world. These workers – some paid, and some volunteer – conduct on-the-ground outreach to identify people in need of eye care and connect them with services, from eyeglasses to medicines to surgery.
Increasing Access to Sight-Saving Surgery in Western Tanzania
Sometimes a little support can go a long way. Bugando Medical Centre in Western Tanzania serves 16 million people but could not perform cataract surgeries on site for lack of an operating microscope. The ophthalmologist would have to transport the patient, staff and supplies to another hospital, perform the surgery, then transport them back to Bugando.
Many people choose to support Seva's work by giving Gifts of Sight for birthdays or holidays. Both the giver and the receiver know they're giving families and whole communities a chance for a better future.
Nancy Neiditz has been giving Gifts of Sight since 2002. She learned about Seva through her interest in the works of Seva co-founder Ram Dass.
Telemedicine, which allows patients to communicate with a doctor via videoconference and share test results electronically in real time, has entered the mainstream. Studies show that telemedicine can provide care comparable to in-person visits in fields such as mental health, substance abuse, dermatology, diabetes management, and yes, eye care.