Lexitas Co-Founder, Karen Kuhn joined Unite For Sight as a volunteer Global Impact Fellow last summer in Ghana and shares her thoughts about the experience.
Why did you decide to participate in the Unite For Sight Program?
I hoped that the opportunity to work with Unite For Sight would allow me to learn more about how my expertise in ophthalmic drug development could play a useful role in addressing eye care problems in the developing world.
Lexitas, is an Ophthalmic Contract Research Organization provides research services and consulting for pharmaceutical companies. Lexitas was founded five years ago with a core interest in eye care drug development and a complementary interest in learning how to integrate socially focused and global health care into our traditional CRO business model.
What were some of your responsibilities?
During the outreach clinic visits which occurred each day, I would assist with patient intake, performing visual acuity, dispensing eyeglasses and medications prescribed by the local ophthalmic nurses, recording the names of patients referred for surgery, patient education, etc. I also was present at the Crystal Eye Clinic in Accra, to observe the successful completion and documentation of each of the Unite For Sight supported surgeries performed by Dr. James Clarke.
Crystal Eye Outreach Clinic
Do you have an estimate for how many patients were seen during your two weeks?
Over the course of my 2 week visit to Ghana, more than 2000 patients were evaluated and treated by the Crystal Eye Clinic outreach team which was supported by Unite For Sight and the volunteers. Many hundreds of eye glasses were dispensed at the outreach clinics. Following my first week of outreach visits, 27 patients were referred to the primary clinic in Accra for sight saving surgery. I was grateful to directly observe each of these surgeries performed by Dr. Clarke during a surgery observation day at Crystal Eye Clinic in Accra.
What impact did this experience have on you?
Volunteering with Unite For Sight was one of the most influential and impactful experiences of my life. The time I spent in Ghana validated my interest in global health and has fueled my desire to work toward improving access to quality eye care in the developing world. This remains a personal goal and a socially oriented business focus for Lexitas.
I was profoundly moved and inspired by the quality, commitment and tenacity of the local clinicians and team at Crystal Eye Clinic. They work relentlessly to provide high quality eye care, every day, to those whose access to care is otherwise limited or non-existent as a result of geographic and/or financial barriers.