Local problems demand local solutions.
Global health delivery is complex, and programs are best developed by local medical professionals and social entrepreneurs who understand the barriers to quality care in their communities. As a global health delivery organization, Unite For Sight partners with local eye clinics to identify community-specific barriers that impede effective eye care delivery for patients living in extreme poverty. We work with the local clinics to develop strategies to overcome these barriers through sustainable systems of care. Unite For Sight’s programs are sustainable, emphasizing the development of existing local resources to meet long-term local eye care needs. Local ophthalmologists and ophthalmic staff provide the program’s management and leadership in their communities.
We cultivate and invest in the talent of local healthcare professionals.
Unite For Sight recognizes the innumerable barriers that prevent patients from accessing quality care in resource-poor settings. We believe in the social entrepreneurial vision and commitment of local medical professionals, and we work with existing profitable clinics to develop a unique outreach infrastructure. In addition to providing eye care for their paying patients, these eye clinics develop an outreach division with Unite For Sight's support. The local eye clinic staff members possess unsurpassed experience and knowledge of their immediate surroundings and needs, and Unite For Sight harnesses the entrepreneurial talent of these local leaders by providing support in the form of human and financial resources. Unite For Sight cultivates and invests in the talent of local eye care leaders who have the determination and skill to create social enterprises that serve their communities' poorest people.
We continually enhance global health delivery.
Our programs are designed to continually enhance global health delivery, both locally with our eye clinic partners and on a global scale. We review cutting-edge literature about global health delivery and share information gleaned from this research with our eye clinic partners so they can apply new practices in the field. We also develop research projects by recruiting volunteers to serve as Global Impact Fellows. We work with the Fellows to design and implement research studies that contribute to understanding about healthcare delivery. For example, one recent research study explored the use of visual communication to enhance patients’ understanding of postoperative medication regimens. Please see Research for more information.
We multiply surgical capacity.
Unite For Sight's innovative programs in Ghana, Honduras, and India have provided the highest quality of care to more than 1.9 million of the world's poorest people, including more than 87,378 sight-restoring surgeries. The eye care is provided by local eye doctors. During 2008, Unite For Sight sponsored 5,011 of the 14,053 cataract surgeries performed by Ghanaian eye clinics, or 36% of all cataract surgeries done in Ghana that year. In 2009, with Unite For Sight's collaboration with four partner ophthalmologists, Ghana increased its surgical volume to 17,366 annual surgeries. Unite For Sight's outreach programs with the four partner eye clinics provided 46% of all cataract surgeries performed in Ghana in 2009, and all 8,060 UFS-sponsored surgeries were provided for patients living in extreme poverty. Unite For Sight was directly responsible for 92% of the cataract surgery increase in Ghana between 2008 and 2009. By 2010, five of the forty-five ophthalmologists in Ghana were partners of Unite For Sight, and these five ophthalmologists provide more than half of all surgeries performed in Ghana.
We measure outcomes, not just outputs.
At Unite for Sight, we track the number of patients living in poverty who receive eye care through the outreach programs and the number of patients with significantly improved vision after surgery. Unite For Sight requires extensive documentation from each eye clinic partner, including preoperative and postoperative visual acuity data, which is analyzed to ensure the quality, effectiveness, and social impact of the programs. We also assess the effect of the Unite for Sight partnership on each eye clinic's cataract surgical rate. For example, in Ghana, Unite For Sight has enabled Crystal Eye Clinic's ophthalmologist to increase his annual surgical volume from 600 to more than 2,900 surgeries, and 86 % of his surgeries are now provided for patients living in extreme poverty.