On April 7, 2018, HelpMeSee celebrates World Health Day (WHD), an annual celebration recognizing global healthcare as a fundamental human right, which was first demanded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. In honor of WHO’s 70th anniversary, HelpMeSee declares our support for universal healthcare because we too stand for equal access in healthcare regardless of age, gender, race, and income.
At HelpMeSee, our mission is to eliminate cataract blindness on a global scale by using our simulation-based training program and Eye Surgical Simulator to teach Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) to surgeons. MSICS is a high quality and affordable surgery that can save millions of lives in a short period of time.
Rural villagers wait to be examined for cataracts by outreach workers in Nepal
Vision as a Human Right
Albeit global health serving as an all-inclusive umbrella term, HelpMeSee considers that the condition of one’s vision can determine the overall quality of one’s life, ultimately producing a chain reaction and impacting other aspects of one’s home, work, and social life.
A pre-op patient with bilateral cataracts in Chitrakoot, India
Everybody deserves equal access to healthcare because everybody needs their health to maximize their life on this planet. The irony of universal healthcare, however, is that it does not exist everywhere in the world. Eyesight is a critical component of visual health. In rural areas of developing countries, sight is necessary for everyday sustenance. Those with visual impairment experience depression and become dependent on other family members who need to work and provide materials as well. The blind become marginalized because they are not seen or treated as equals in society, which poses a greater demand for health equity. That is to say, universal healthcare does not discriminate. Rather, universal healthcare prioritizes the number one cause for concern of all life: holistic health.
(See prior photo) Post-op
Excess Hunger Without Healthcare
In poor countries where workers are paid less than $2 a day to feed their families, paying for healthcare weighs in at a heavy price. When people suffer from lack of nutrition and food security, their quality of work plummets. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) affirms that people should consume a certain amount of food energy to balance the amount of energy they expel so that they may “maintain body size, body composition and a level of necessary and desirable physical activity consistent with long-term good health.” By placing expenditures on healthcare for individuals who survive on scant meals and are expected to produce quality work nevertheless, is a death sentence. It is a backwards notion that one’s health, a basic right, should be compromised. Hunger and poverty occur on an individual basis with the cautionary of resulting in a larger scale epidemic. However, these proportions can be reduced and relieved.
Universal Eye HealthCare
HelpMeSee’s comprehensive solution to restore vision to the blind across the world involves surgical training, patient outreach, and support for sight-restoring cataract procedures. To the HelpMeSee team, World Health Day is a powerful reminder that universal healthcare can deliver a brighter future for everybody, and at HelpMeSee, we are devoted to helping the blind see.
Albert L. Ueltschi, HelpMeSee’s founder and inspiration, once said, “If you don’t have your health, you have zero.”