By Beth Dalton, Storytelling Captain
Hello and welcome to the inaugural post of the OneSight Peru Clinic 2017 team!
As we near the departure date the team’s excitement is growing – we just can’t wait to start bringing the gift of sight to our friends in Peru. I hope you’ll join us on our journey through this blog – it will be updated often with amazing stories about the patients, volunteers and in-country partners.
I’m a statistician by training, so I’ve put together a little data visualization to go along with this post- Peru Clinic by the numbers!
About the Location
Globally, we know there are 1.1 billion people who do not have access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses – that’s 1 in 7 people worldwide. Over 60% of Latin Americans do not have access to eye health services, and Peru is one of the least served countries in South America with less than 40 ophthalmologists per million people.
The population in Peru is split almost evenly between the densely populated regions of Lima & Callao, the Other Coastal regions and the Mountain & Jungle regions. However, the distribution of ophthalmologists and vision care services is skewed, mostly concentrated in the urban center of Lima.
Zooming in on the jungle region of Ucayali, the capital city Pucallpa is home to nearly half of the region’s population. The other half of Ucayali’s residents are mostly rural farmers and fishermen. Long term exposure to the sun and poor diet diversity are just some of the environmental factors that contribute to poor eye health in the area. Couple that with the serious lack of access to vision care, and it’s easy to see why Onesight chose this location for a Global Clinic.
About the Patients
At the clinic in Pucallpa, an estimated 4,750 people will travel from the surrounding areas to take part in the clinic. Some will travel many hours by boat, bus, motorcycle or foot to take advantage of this opportunity!
In conjunction with the local government, the Secretary of Health selects the participants ahead of the clinic dates. Through data mining and pre-screening, people with a high likelihood of vision problems are targeted, and between 70 – 80% will have some need.
Approximately 80% of the people that have a need will be over 30 years of age. This means there will be a demand for bifocals and other specialized lenses, some that can’t be made in the clinic lab. Some will receive two pairs of glasses and the specialized lenses will be scheduled for post-clinic dispensing. Where cataract, pterygium, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are identified, patients will be referred to the Peruvian Secretary of Health for continued care.
About the Volunteers
All OneSight clinics are made possible by volunteers from around the globe. Peru 2017 will be staffed by 51 Luxotticans from multiple business units, including 12 Optometrists. Five continents and 11 countries will be represented in Peru! There is a strong mix of OneSight veterans and newcomers – which is a fantastic way to foster the knowledge, skills and passion needed to keep Global Clinics successful for many years to come. We will also be joined in-country by several partners from Ópticas GMO, Luxottica’s South American optical retail chain. These folks are an invaluable asset providing local planning and follow-up assistance as well as working clinic stations right alongside the rest of the volunteers!
About the Clinic: Thanks to months of planning, the clinic will run like a well-oiled machine! Volunteers will work 12 hour days, leaving the hotel at 7 am; this is no leisurely vacation – we are here to work!
Patients will arrive and move through some or all of the fourteen stations, depending on the individual situation. The clinic will be open for eight full days and will we see an average of about 600 patients per day. In addition to the lab equipment necessary to finish most prescriptions on site, the mobile lab will be supplied with an inventory of frames, lenses, pre-made reading glasses and non-prescription sunglasses. And maybe a few stickers or toys to share with the local children!
About the Fundraising
OneSight volunteers are able to contribute to the cost of a Global Clinic through their Fundraising Campaign. Each individual sets the amount they pledge to raise, which then rolls up to the clinic goal. This is not mandatory, but almost everyone pitches in! As of this writing the Peru 2017 clinic has raised 32% of the $29,000 goal, but don’t worry! Even though the clinic is right around the corner, we actually have the rest of 2017 to fundraise!
If you’d like to help your friend or family member bring the gift of sight to the people of Pucallpa, just click the link below. You can donate to any team member that has a campaign set up, or you can donate to the clinic in general – every little bit helps and is deeply appreciated!
See you in Peru!!