On September 7th Seva Canada received the 2015 Champalimaud Award along with our African partner, the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) and our sister organization, Seva Foundation.
The Champalimaud prize of 1 million Euros is one of the world’s largest scientific awards. It is both a scientific award and a humanitarian award that recognizes organization’s efforts to produce knowledge and use that knowledge to improve lives. The individuals who review the organizations and their body of work include Nobel laureates, humanitarians, economists and physicians.
The award recognizes that KCCO and Seva Canada have produced almost all of the community ophthalmology research knowledge for Africa, as well as the manuals for pediatric eye care, key informants, low vision, trachoma and cataract. In addition, we initiated the research that led to an understanding of the extent of the gender imbalance in the treatment of blindness and Seva Canada supported KCCO in their efforts to devise strategies to overcome the imbalance.
Seva and KCCO’s belief that research and resulting innovations are the only way to catalyze real change in the delivery of eye care brought us to a spectacular outdoor stage at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown beside the Tagus River in Lisbon on September 7th.
Paul Courtright (KCCO), Jack Blanks (Seva Foundation) and I received the award from the President of Portugal and we were honored by the presence of dignitaries from science, government, and the humanities. KCCO and Seva’s work was honoured, acknowledged and applauded.
I have never felt prouder of KCCO and Seva. I have never been more grateful for the opportunity to work with these amazing people for the past 10 years. I have never been more honoured to be one of the many working toward the elimination of preventable and treatable blindness.