SightLife received $25,000 which would be used to fund cutting-edge corneal blindness prevention programs in Nepal.

Description of how the funds will be used: 

Corneal blindness is a preventable loss of sight caused by damage to the surface of the eye. It is particularly prevalent and devastating in developing countries. SightLife is currently running two cutting-edge corneal blindness prevention programs in Nepal and India. An IG grant would fund two new sites outside of Katmandu.

Description of Project/Program, what makes it compelling, and the specific needs it will address:

These programs are pilot projects that standardize training, materials and the program itself to be duplicable to launch in other countries. The impact of this program worldwide is huge.

Describe the Organization or Project as it pertains to the following Impact Giving Grant Standards-

High Impact & Life Transforming:

Nearly 1.5 million new cases of corneal blindness occur in the world every year. It affects the young, the elderly and many in the prime of life, forever altering their lives and the opportunities for those who must care for them.  It robs people of their ability to hold a job, sustain their families, and to be productive members of their communities, creating a vicious cycle of isolation, poverty and despair.

Education:

SightLife educates local village female health workers to diagnose corneal abrasions and administer treatment with antibiotics to prevent corneal blindness.  This gives the women unique skills, elevating their status in these predominantly male-dominated cultures. The women, in turn, educate their communities about early intervention.

In households where a man is blind, too often a daughter or sister is pulled out of school to help, limiting their opportunities for a brighter future.

Women without vision are not educated, leaving them with minimal life choices and crushed hopes, making them more dependent on their male dominated societies.

Children with corneal ulcerations cannot read or see the blackboard at school.  Their futures are filled with darkness.

SightLife’s prevention program breaks the cycle of corneal blindness which leads to feelings of shame, dishonor, and hopelessness.

Sustainability:

The program is fueled by private support and eye bank operations revenue.  SightLife  restricts their recruitment of women workers to areas that have already established government health care training programs.  SightLife piggybacks on top of these programs, just adding additional training, making SightLife very economically efficient.  The cost of the antibiotic treatment needed to prevent corneal blindness is only $1 per person.  SightLife works with local hospitals and government who provide additional support and services.

Community Building:

FCHWs become first responders to their community’s needs, treating eye injuries and shifting the culture around eye care.  There is no longer limited access to quick medical treatment when eyes become injured by contaminated plant material, an insect, or a speck of dust or dirt.

A farmer now knows he need feel no shame in seeking early intervention at the health worker’s own home if something gets into his eye.  Before, he may have gone blind from this, placing a huge burden on the individual, his family, and the wider community.

Innovative:

The program is a first for the world. No other organizations have embarked in this coordinated programmatic effort to prevent corneal blindness before it happens.

Additionally, the program seeks out existing female health workers and trains them in prevention methodologies.

The goal of the program is to be packaged and replicated across all geographies. It will be both customizable and localizable.

Measurable:

Patient data is entered in a logbook, collected by a supervisor and uploaded to an online database.  The database is accessed from headquarters for review and analysis. Each site submits a monthly report which includes total number of eye health workers trained, patients seen and the percentage of abrasion cases fully resolved after 4 days of treatment. A custom mobile app is also being piloted with 30 community health workers.

Organization’s Mission Statement:

We serve as a global leader to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide by 2040.

Link to the website:  http://www.sightlife.org