In January 2017, the Fund approved a three-year grant of $428,937 to the Seva Foundation, to help expand the capacity of two mentor eye clinics in Latin America– Visualiza Eye Clinic in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and Divino Nino Jesus (DNJ) Eye Clinic in Lima, Peru– to train Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOPs) through strengthened curricula that is accessible online, and to support them in training 100 additional AOPs and helping at least 10 other Latin American eye care groups build their own capacity for training such professionals.
At the start of this grant, Seva and its collaborators—Visualiza, DNJ, Aravind, and the International Council of Ophthalmology– conceptualized and developed “Eyexcel Latin America,” a regional, culturally appropriate version of Eyexcel, internationally known resources previously developed by Seva and Aravind to train AOPs in skills needed for eye care delivery. By the end of the project, 272 AOPs were trained: 227 at Visualiza, 30 at DNJ, and 15 at the mentee hospitals. Seva and its partners successfully trained 13 hospitals as well as 40 trainers capable of preparing other potential professionals as AOPs. Seva strategically installed a learning management system to support the Eyexcel learning modules online, which stood the project in good stead when the pandemic hit and has allowed the project partners to deliver the training in person and virtually, reaching a much broader audience abroad than originally intended. Lastly, of the AOPs trained, more than 60% were women, who then have obtained jobs and new professional and financial opportunities. It is possible that the longer-term impact of this expansion of women’s roles may have reverberating social and other effects.