In 2013, we piloted a revolutionary idea in terms of how to bring a scalable solution to close the vision care gap for an entire population: working jointly with The Gambia to open a series of permanent, self-sustaining vision centers. Starting with Farafenni in April 2013, this was the first step in our goal to provide all 1.8 million Gambian people with permanent vision care access. Today, that goal is a reality.
Before the center opened, there had been just one ophthalmologist to serve the entire country. We saw this as an opportunity to partner with the country’s government to create a system in which every citizen could have access. In just six years, OneSight, in partnership with the Gambian government, fulfilled its mission by opening seven vision centers, one manufacturing facility and creating 79 local jobs. This resulted in a fully self-sustaining health care infrastructure that will serve the country’s population for years to come. And on June 27, we celebrated the official transition of vision center operations to The Gambia government.
OneSight and representatives of The Gambia government met at the capital office in Banjul to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to transition full oversight of the vision care system that has been built and refined over the past 6 years to ownership by the Gambian government. The MOU signifies the positive outcome of a public-private partnership, proves that there is a solution for the global vision care access issue affecting 1.1 billion people worldwide, and signals that solving this issue in our lifetime is plausible. K-T Overbey, OneSight’s President & Executive Director, was onsite in The Gambia to celebrate this exciting milestone, along with Regional Manager Mustapha Njie, who oversaw the implementation of the sustainable program.
Through our charitable to sustainable programming model, OneSight is providing vision care access to populations around the world. From villages in the Amazon, to refugee camps in Jordan and Thailand, to school systems in Chicago and everywhere in between. We know that while our charitable work provides short-term solutions to areas in need, the key to closing the vision care gap lies in creating locally-owned permanent, self-sustaining systems with the capacity to serve entire communities. After the initial success in the Gambia, we have been expanding and adapting this sustainable approach to nine significantly larger countries, including Rwanda, Zambia and South Africa. And that’s just the start; we are looking forward to forging new partnerships to close the vision care gap for good in other parts of Africa, and the rest of the world.
And we will not stop – until the world can see clearly.
Together, we can make it happen. Join the cause by donating $30 to provide a vision screening and a pair of glasses to someone in need.