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HelpMeSee Helps Create Cataract Backlog Free Zone in India

Historical Achievement in Chitrakoot Proves Unprecedented Program Outcomes

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - July 29, 2014) - HelpMeSee -- a global campaign to eliminate blindness due to cataract -- and Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya (SNC), Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh Trust (SSSST; founded by Param Pujya Shri Ranchhoddasji Maharaj) -- one of the largest rural eye care organizations in India -- partnered together in with one goal in mind -- to implement an evidence-based approach for eliminating blindness due to cataracts. Nearly three years into the partnership, and with the generous support and direction of HelpMeSee, SSSST has successfully achieved India's Chitrakoot District (with a population of over one million people) as a Cataract Backlog Free Zone.

"The success of the HelpMeSee campaign is dependent on enabling remote and austere communities to access high-quality surgical services on a sustained basis," said Mohan Jacob Thazhathu, president and CEO, HelpMeSee. "We expect to have a cataract surgical clinic available for every 250,000 population -- capable of delivering 2,500 surgeries every year. We estimate this is the surgical saturation required to eliminate cataract blindness and address visual impairment due to cataracts."

Thazhathu added that this approach is being replicated in 2 more districts (one district in Uttar Pradesh and one district in Madhya Pradesh) with significant results expected by the end of 2014.

Started in November 2011, the SSSST and HelpMeSee partnership was built on the guiding philosophy of bringing the best quality patient care, surgery and follow-up into the region's most remote areas -- serving those living in dire, austere conditions and suffering from curable cataract blindness.

The SNC has reported major achievements directly attributed to the HelpMeSee's evidence-based approach and surgical quality assurance programs. By implementing high-quality surgical care protocols including examination & screening, surgical quality standards and post-operation patient care, more than 60,000 MSICS (manual small incision cataract surgeries) have been performed with a post-surgical follow-up rate reaching 90 percent.

"Through this noble approach, we are bringing the dream of our founder, Param Pujya Shri Ranchhoddasji Maharaj, to a reality. With a deep sense of gratitude, we embrace the remarkable contribution of the HelpMeSee campaign, which without, this would not have been possible. Our convincing results may inspire many to come up with similar approaches, for the benefit of underserved," said Dr. B.K. Jain, Trustee & Director, Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh Trust.

Additionally, a separate cloud-based patient management database and has been implemented to record each patient's profile (both pre and post surgery) and follow-up details as part of HelpMeSee's commitment to quality assurance, program transparency and donor visibility.

"As a part of our organizational and programmatic transparency promise to donors, we know the name and location of each and every patient serviced under the HelpMeSee campaign," added Venkat Sambandhamoorthy, Chief of Programs and Field Operations for HelpMeSee. "Converging the latest technologies available such as Global Information Systems (GIS) to find those living with treatable cataracts is just one element to serving people living in the harshest conditions and suffering needlessly from cataract blindness."

The heart and soul of HelpMeSee's Surgical Partner program are the local surgeons in the developing countries. 99% of all of the surgeries we sponsor will be performed by local surgeons in local hospitals. By empowering local surgeons to set up their own practices and supporting local hospitals, we will be building self-sufficiency in very poor, but very proud communities one surgery at a time. This is the only successful route to sustainability.

To learn more about HelpMeSee and to join us in eliminating cataract blindness, please visit www.HelpMeSee.org.

HelpMeSee (www.HelpMeSee.org) is a global campaign to eliminate cataract blindness endemic in developing countries. The HelpMeSee mission is make the sight-restoring surgery available to millions of poor through financial support and the training of thousands of highly skilled specialist cataract surgeons recruited from within their communities. HelpMeSee has designed and is now producing a virtual reality surgical simulator and training program to be implemented worldwide, adapted from extensive experience in simulator based aviation training.

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