Traveling that Last Mile

Vistaro camera in Ukraine.
Seva’s Pristine 5.0 Retinal Camera (formerly Vistaro) in Ukraine.

As a global public health organization, we experience all sorts of obstacles in our pursuit of bringing equitable eye care to communities where it is most needed: geographic isolation, economic insecurity, and even war, to name a few. With your support, we work to overcome these barriers – and travel that last mile. 

Together, here’s how we brought new eye care equipment to hospitals in Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict.

Seva has worked in Ukraine since 2017 on various initiatives – from treating and diagnosing patients living with HIV/AIDS for CMV retinitis (a blindness-causing infection) to working with partners to prevent Retinopathy of Prematurity (RoP), the nation’s leading cause of blindness for babies.

Back in 2019, our partner, Eye Samaritan International, traveled to Odessa and Mikolaiv, Ukraine to visit three neonatal intensive care units (NICU). With Seva’s support, they inspected the equipment available and determined the needs of the neonatologists who worked around the clock to prevent RoP among infants. This equipment was then secured and transported in from Austria. 

Fighting and hostilities continue in Ukraine since the war escalated in February 2022, directly impacting more than 11 million people and affecting the entire country. Throughout this difficult and uncertain time, we stood in constant communication with our partners, providing support wherever we could to continue treating patients.

In 2023, the equipment finally made its way to Ukraine: oximeters, a device that plays a large role in preventing retinopathy of prematurity, infusion pumps, and cannula kits. It has been an arduous journey to ensure the safe passageway of these devices to Ukraine, but one that will undoubtedly play a difference in the lives of babies. 

Our heart aches for anyone who has been displaced or affected by this conflict. We are committed to traveling that last mile  to help communities with relief, security, and support through eye care. Thank you for helping us do just that. 

5 comments on “Traveling that Last Mile

  • I have eye problems that lost vision I think it is because of shingle my eye has scars inside I need help from seva if there is something they can do to help me to see again. I live in south africa not working

      • Dear Seva,
        I’m a contributor to you. I think a much better reply would have included which are your partner hospitals in South Africa. Your reply is pretty cold-sounding. Please provide Mavis with more info. Thanks!

        • Hi David and Mavis, we are unable to guide or refer Mavis to a local partner clinic or hospital at this time since we do not work in South Africa. We are actively exploring opportunities to expand our network and serve African countries. Currently, we only have partners in Tanzania (Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology) and Burundi (CTSOE). We are a small team here at Seva and our programs are executed through our partners around the world. We also cannot overstep our role and give medical advice. Any or all medical advice to individuals is provided through our partner hospitals after careful examination and evaluation by professionals. This ensures that individuals get the best quality care. Selfless service is a core value of Seva and it is difficult for us to share such responses where we are unable to help an individual. This is a reminder that more work remains to be done. We wish you good health, Mavis and thank you for the feedback and your support, David.

          • Thank you, Seva! This is a nice response, more in the spirit of Ram Dass and Neem Karoli Baba. It is clear from your response that we definitely need to expand this type of care to reach more countries and needy individuals.

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