Operation Eyesight Universal leading the way in partnerships with hospitals
in India

TORONTO, Aug. 18 /CNW/ - India was once known for its crippling bureaucracy that stifled progress and growth, but this country has made tremendous strides towards sustainable development. Operation Eyesight Universal has worked in India since 1963, and is proud to be part of this success story.

Five years ago, Operation Eyesight had 41 hospital partners in India, working to provide high quality eye care programs and services. Today, Operation Eyesight partners with 17 Indian hospitals - and these 17 are more than doubling the impact of the original group, producing more and better results with less, while taking decisive steps on the road to operational sustainability.

Pat Ferguson, President and CEO of Operation Eyesight, says a shared commitment to quality and patient services keeps these partnerships together.

"We can effectively use donors' money to help hospitals in poor areas deliver high-quality outcomes and achieve financial sustainability - both of which are critical if we are to eliminate avoidable blindness," states Ferguson.

While previously the focus was on surgeries for people with cataracts - still the objective of many NGOs today - Operation Eyesight's vision is to build community and medical infrastructure that will enable eye problems to be prevented and treated before they cause blindness.

"We can eliminate 80 percent of avoidable blindness through a basic primary eye care system and by making sure people have access to care," Ferguson explains. "We will always need to treat people with cataracts, but if that is all we focus on, we will never win the larger battle."

Working with the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute located in Hyderabad, India, Operation Eyesight is providing expert training and consulting resources. Operation Eyesight collaborates with partners to ensure local professionals and staff are appropriately trained and hospitals and clinics are well-designed, built and equipped. Better cost control, effective systems, high-functioning facilities and a strong community outreach program allow many people to receive valuable eye care services.

It's important to deliver quality as it is essential for attracting patients who pay for services. This revenue, combined with that from in-hospital optical shops, enables hospitals to provide free care to those in need.

"We've learned a great deal over the past five years and our partners have worked hard to implement change," Ferguson says.

"Our partners don't want to be dependent on foreign funding. They want to be in control of their own future. Our development approach will help them see that day."

Operation Eyesight is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness in the developing world. We work with medical professionals and communities in Africa and India to help provide quality eye care programs and sustainable community development. Since 1963, through the support of our donors, 35 million of the world's poorest people have had their sight restored or protected. To learn more about our work, visit href="http://www.operationeyesight.com/">www.operationeyesight.com.

SOURCE OPERATION EYESIGHT UNIVERSAL

For further information: For further information:

Lindsay O'Connor, Head of International Media, oconnor@operationeyesight.com, Cell: (647) 404-4469, Toll-free: 1-800-585-8265 ext. 3

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OPERATION EYESIGHT UNIVERSAL

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