Mong Kong Seav, a 14-month old Cambodian girl had a tearing, watery left eye which caused her family a great deal of concern. Luckily, thanks to Seva donors, a village screening took place near her home. Her grandmother, Lau Kha, took her to have her eye looked at while her parents were working in the fields.
Mong's bottom eye lid had not fully developed and was not thick enough to keep her tears in her eye. The field nurse advised her grandmother that Mong's eye should fix itself and she was given antibiotics to prevent infection.
Happy and relieved, Mong and Lau went home to tell the little girl's parents that her eye and vision were going to be ok. Mong's future is bright and full of possibilities!
This isn't the case for all women and girls; this International Women's Day let's continue to break the barriers for women and girls so they can access eye care.
Half of the world’s population is made up of women and girls. Women and girls don’t go blind more often than men and boys. Yet, two-thirds of the world’s blind are female. Why? Because women and girls are far less likely than men and boys to receive eye care services due to social, cultural and economic factors.
Seva Canada has taken a leadership role in a global initiative to reduce the inequity. The first step was to prove that the inequity exists and holds true for both industrialized and developing nations and across all types of preventable and treatable eye conditions. The second step was to identify barriers women and girls face in accessing care and develop strategies to overcome those barriers. Simple strategies are often the most effective: provide counseling to the families, offer free transportation and bring eye care to people’s doorsteps with community ophthalmology programs. Sharing our findings and strategies with the global eye care community was the third step. We are happy to report that more and more organizations and eye care programs are implementing strategies to reach women and girls. Does Seva favour the treatment of women and girls over the treatment of men and boys? Absolutely not. By implementing these strategies we have doubled the overall utilization of eye care services by both sexes and now a much greater proportion of those treated are women and girls.