West Seattle Junction resident Emily Neely (left) will travel to Orissa, India in June to help non-profit Unite for Sight work with impoverished communities to improve eye health.
UPDATE: Junction resident helps impoverished communities in India battle eye disease
Update for June 26
West Seattle resident Emily Neely is wrapping up her humanitarian stint in India, providing eye care to residents without prior access.
Here is Emily's report from June 19:
I am finishing up my final days here at the Kalinga Eye Hospital. The power goes in and out, so the internet is very touchy. It has been a very rewarding experience. In the morning a team will leave the hospital fairly early to do an eye camp. I have been to two eye camps- one in a very rural village of subsistence farmers and the other in an outlying village.
There is publicity ahead of time, so the local people know the screening will happen. Anyone that can benefit from cataract surgery is then brought to the hospital, has surgery after lunch and is transported back to their home the following day. Also local people can come to the clinic in the am to have a screening. Additionally, the clinic offers a variety of eye services.
Right now they are still able to provide services free of charge, but they are looking for additional revenue streams for continued operations. The Dhenkanal area of Orissa is a very poor area in India. There are still many tribes here that are marginalized.
Original post on April 27
Emily Neely has been selected to be a Global Impact Fellow with Unite For Sight in Orissa, India during June 2012. Unite For Sight (www.uniteforsight.org) is the world's leader in socially responsible, effective volunteering and also a leader in providing cost-effective care to the world's poorest people.
While a Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellow, Neely will work with a Unite For Sight partner eye clinic to provide eye care in communities without previous access. Unite For Sight supports eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care. Neely will work with the partner eye clinics' talented ophthalmologists and eye doctors who are social entrepreneurs addressing complex global health issues. On a year-round basis, the clinic’s local eye doctors diagnose and treat eye diseases in the field, and surgical patients are brought to the eye clinic for surgery by the local ophthalmologist.
Neely graduated with a Master of Public Health in 2009 from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Since graduation she has been employed by a Seattle area hospital and has been an active volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. She became interested in volunteering with Unite for Sight when she learned that blindness is usually preventable and curable in the developing world. Upon return she hopes to use her global health and clinical experiences to further her interests in public health.
“I am very excited to be present when a formerly blind or low vision patient opens their eyes after surgery and can see the world around them again,” Neely said.
Unite For Sight's Global Impact Corps is an immersive global health experience. Global Impact Fellows such as Neely are engaged in cutting-edge global health programs and are immersed in the field of social entrepreneurship. They gain hands-on training about effective health program delivery and the opportunities and challenges facing social entrepreneurs and clinicians in developing countries. On a daily basis, She will assist local ophthalmic nurses and optometrists in all aspects of the eye care programs, including taking patient history, testing visual acuity, distributing medication and eyeglasses prescribed by the local eye nurses and optometrists, providing eye health education in the villages and schools, and helping with data collection and analysis. All of the eye exams, diagnosis, and surgeries are provided by local eye doctors. Prior to participating abroad, she will complete Unite For Sight's Global Impact Training, which includes training in cultural competency, global health, social entrepreneurship, community eye health, volunteer ethics and professionalism, and other similar topics.
Neely is also fundraising for Unite For Sight, and 100% of the funds raised will provide sight-restoring surgeries for patients living in extreme poverty. The patients go from being blind to having their sight entirely restored. Each cataract surgery costs $50 on average, so every dollar donated makes a tremendous impact on the lives of children and adults. To contribute to Emily Neely’s fundraising efforts, contact email@example.com. or online here. Be sure to include your email address on the check so that Unite For Sight can provide you with a donation receipt for tax purposes. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by U.S. law.
Important Facts About Unite For Sight
•Unite For Sight is not a "medical mission". Unite For Sight does not provide short-term programs or interventions. Unite For Sight supports local eye clinics that provide eye care to patients living in extreme poverty on a daily basis and year-round.
•Unite For Sight works with local eye clinic partners to create and implement effective, sustainable, year-long eye care programs.
•The eye care services are comprehensive, including examinations by local eye doctors, diagnosis and care for all treatable conditions, education and prevention. This full range of services is delivered to the population year-round.
•Outreach services are brought to the people in their villages, whether those remote areas are 1 hour from the local eye clinic, or 7 hours from the clinic.
•All eye care and surgeries are provided by local eye doctors who are highly skilled and trained.
•Unite For Sight's volunteers (Global Impact Fellows) support and assist local eye clinics and their ophthalmic staff. The local eye doctors provide the eye care, and the volunteers assist with visual acuity screening, patient intake, patient education, and other support roles.
•Unite For Sight runs a highly effective and efficient organization, and 100% of all donations go directly to providing eye care for patients living in extreme poverty.