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Sankara



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Sankara Eye Care seeks to eliminate curable blindness in India by providing quality, equitable eye care to the rural poor. Through a network of community members, field workers and nurses, Sankara conducts outreach eye screening camps to identify individuals with cataracts and then transports them to the main hospital for treatment. In addition, Sankara empowers women from local communities through its nurse-training program.

Sankara requested two program assessments; one of its free cataract surgery program, Gift of Vision, the one of its nurse-training program. Sankara required quantitative data on the impact of cataract surgery to supplement pre existing qualitative data. Sankara had no data preexisting data on the nurse-training program, and requested an assessment to determine the impact that the training program has on women’s lives.

 

Compassionate Efficiency: A study of Sankara Eye Foundation’s Gift of Vision program

The Gift of Vision program operates by integrating with a community, capitalizing on pre existing community networks and a highly efficient patient care system. This report focuses on the importance of community networks in the outreach process and the impact of cataract surgery on patients’ lives.  It includes a detailed outline of the patient treatment process, two patient case studies and quantitative analysis of Gift of Vision’s social impact.

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Empowering Women: The Social Impact of Vision Care Technician Training

The Vision Care Technician program recruits young Indian women from rural villages, providing academic enrichment, comprehensive patient care and community service opportunities. This assessment focuses on the technician recruitment process and the intricate relationships within family, finances and society. This assessment is further divided into two parts that include a narrative perspective of student technician experiences and a quantitative analysis of the program’s social impact for the technicians.

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While in the field, we worked to measure the social impact of 2 Sankara programs: the Gift of Vision cataract surgery program and the Vision Care Technician nurse training program. Interviews with the Gift of Vision program were completed at rural outreach eye camps and Sankara’s hospital, and interviews with Vision Care Technicians were solely completed in Sankara’s hospital. In order to asses Sankara’s free surgery program, Gift of Vision, we attended 2 eye camps and surveyed 107 patients preoperatively and 60 of the same patients one month postoperatively. Questions focused on how patients’ eyesight affected their mental and physical health and social relationships before and after surgery. To assess the Vision Care Technician nurse-training program, we interviewed 105 student and staff technicians working at 7 different Sankara hospitals. Surveys were conducted as loosely structured interviews with questions focused on their demographics, economic situations and career aspirations. To accomplish these objectives, we developed 4 questionnaires and conducted over 200 interviews with patients, student technicians, and staff technicians. We conducted comprehensive program assessments that Sankara can use to further their marketing efforts.

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Through our Gift of Vision program assessment, we concluded that cataract surgery had a positive effect on patient lives. Patients reported that their quality of life improved significantly after surgery. Over 90% of patients in our sample reported that daily activities got easier, their outlook on the future became more positive and their family relationships improved after surgery. The majority of the program beneficiaries were women, indicating that Sankara is fulfilling its mission to provide equitable eye care to marginalized groups. Finally, the Gift of Vision program is highly community driven, making the outreach program sustainable.

Through the Vision Care Technician program assessment, social impact spreads beyond its beneficiaries: its social impact in the Vision Care Technician program positively influences the technicians’ economic situations and interpersonal relationships.  This pattern became evidenced by the fact that 50% of first generation student technicians and 35% of staff technicians sent all of their income back to their families.  The powerful responses of technicians’ individual experiences were also reflected in their future career outlooks. Both student and staff technicians reported their plans for pursuing nursing degrees or continuing work at Sankara after completing the program.  The structure of the Vision Care Technician program allows for rigorous academic enrichment, meaningful hands-on experience with patient care and sustainable impact to complement Sankara’s growing network of beneficiaries.

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