The project aims to restore sight and prevent blindness in low-income countries. The project contributes to the development of primary, secondary and tertiary eye care services to provide universal access to eye care and improve the health, well-being and opportunities of vulnerable populations, particularly for women and girls who bear the greatest burden of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. Activities include: (1) Assisting health authorities and hospitals to develop and implement sustainable, population-based eye care services, including training of medical and non-medical staff and securing necessary equipment and furnishings (2) Funding the delivery of eye care services, including medication, glasses, and surgical interventions as well as follow-up and rehabilitative care (3) Supporting the development of sub-specialty eye care training and programming, such as pediatrics (3) Developing partner capacity to conduct and promote clinical and operational research (4) Supporting the development of community ophthalmology training, resource and research institutions (5) Encouraging social and political action to prioritize the issue of gender inequity. Seva Canada actively promotes and encourages the transfer of knowledge between our programs and within the eye health community and our network of partners, which include international and national NGOs, local health authorities and our sister organization in California, Seva Foundation. While Seva Canada project funds are small compared to the overall program budgets supported by our network, they are used extensively to leverage additional funds and hence have broader impact.
The expected outcomes for this project include: (1) Improved utilization of eye care services by vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls (2) Increased capacity of eye units to provide high-quality eye care services, particularly to women and girls (3) Increased capacity of community ophthalmology programs, units and eye care centers to deliver programs in priority geographic areas (4) Key institutions have high-quality needs-based training programs in community ophthalmology (5) National government, NGOs and the private sector are aware of eye services, initiatives and community ophthalmology (6) Key institutions have developed and strengthened community ophthalmology research knowledge and productivity (7) Increased international awareness of gender inequity in eye care and strategies to overcome the barriers faced by women and girls.
In the past year, Seva Canada supported programs provided accessible eye care services to 1.6 million people, sight restoring cataract surgery to 110,807 people (54% women), glasses to 13,436 people, and trained 2,172 community members in eye health and over 100 local ophthalmic personnel, including ophthalmologists, ophthalmic assistants and nurses.
Over the project lifetime, Seva Canada has helped to (1) restore the sight of 5 million people (2) train over 100,000 medical and non-medical personnel (3) establish 35 primary eye care facilities and supported the development of 16 secondary facilities and 8 tertiary facilities (2) establish leading community ophthalmology training institutions in India, Nepal and Sub Saharan Africa (3) develop national eye health programs in Nepal, Cambodia, Tibetans Areas of China, Tanzania, Burundi, Madagascar, Malawi and Egypt (2) develop national ophthalmic nurse training programs in Nepal and Madagascar (5) publish over 30 research studies in reputable academic journals, generating population-based evidence across Asia and Africa (6) produce 2 internationally recognized publications documenting the gender inequity in the treatment of blindness and interventions to address the inequity (7) host 2 international gender and blindness meetings attended by key global health actors, practitioners and policy makers.