Dartsedo, Kham Tibet has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, mainly due to cataracts. Currently, Seva supports over 70% of all eye care provided in the Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.  Tibetans now provide almost all the care that includes the poorest and most remote segments of the population, particularly women.  Still, there is much more to be done.

Tibetan ophthalmologist examining an elderly female patient

Earlier this month a two-day eye care planning meeting was held at the Kham Eye Centre in Dartsedo – a primarily Tibetan city in the Province of Sichuan, China. The planning meeting was incredibly important to eye care program development on the Tibetan Plateau and Qinghai and the first of its kind ever held in Tibet. Ten of Seva’s partner institutions attended as well as representatives from the Tibet Health Bureau, Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai, India and Seva.

photo of participants sitting in planning meeting and listening to speaker

Eye Care Planning Meeting

The purpose of the meeting was to bring hospital administrators and medical personnel together to share information and lessons learned, create relationships and to begin the process of creating multi-year plans. Each group presented on their organizations: how many staff, how many patients, how many surgeries are performed each year – their unique challenges and successes. Common to each organization was the drive and motivation to improve.  All wanted more training so they could treat more conditions, all wanted ideas on ways to improve community outreach so more people could be served, all wanted to know how to do their jobs better. Each participant was asked to create three-year plans for their institutions and submit them for review and suggestions.  A follow-up meeting will be organized in the next year to present and refine the plans and create a strategy for implementation. With this, and subsequent planning meetings, eye care delivery, coverage and quality will improve and Tibetans will receive the eye care they need and deserve.

rainbow over the highway in the mountains of Tibet

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