Historically, all of our founders have served as volunteers on trips to Ladakh, where groups of foreign medical and non medical volunteers conduct annual mobile health clinics. Our work on these missions has traditionally focused on eye issues. Constant exposure to the harsh sun has resulted in unusually high rates of cataracts and other UV-related vision problems in these extreme climates. Wherever we set up our mobile health clinics, we dispense UV-rated sunglasses and teach patients how to protect their eyes from further damage.
We believe that these annual missions will continue to be a key pillar of our work – especially as our mission goals expand to include data collection, fact-finding and, most importantly, identifying ways to work with local government and infrastructure. Local partners have always been crucial to our annual missions, and our local guides and translators return year after year to work with us, conducting patient data collection, health education, and screenings alongside our volunteers. Ultimately, our goal for Sight to Sky is to create a solution to healthcare access that is locally-based, sustainable, and informed by hard data, rather than one that relies on intermittent intervention from foreign organizations.
Finally, we recognize that improving healthcare access can be a very broad mandate – from health education programmes, to ensuring adequate availability of basic supplies and medicines, to building up local infrastructure. For example, teaching kids to wash their hands before eating is only effective if they have clean water to wash in! Sight to Sky will evolve as we continue to learn about the needs of the communities in which we work, and how best to address them.