San Diego, California – March 12, 2019 – In January 2019, CovalentCareers, Inc. participated in the iCAREforINDIA mission trip in Andhra Pradesh, India, and produced a 6-minute short film which can be viewed at iCAREforINDIA.org.
Between January 19 and January 28, the CEO of CovalentCareers, Matt Geller, OD, joined two other optometrists, Aaron Lech, OD, FAAO and Suneet Gupta, OD, and one ophthalmologist, Rob Johnson, MD, in treating 4,000 eye patients in the village of Chillakallu in Andhra Pradesh. With an accompanying Primary Care team, the mission distributed 2,200 bottles of ophthalmic medications, delivered over 1,000 individual doses of oral medications, performed 560 cataract surgeries, and prescribed 1,800+ pairs of glasses and 2,000+ pairs of readers.
In between treating patients, the mission team spent time with community members distributing over 150 lbs of educational and community supplies. "If we weren't handling logistics or treating patients we were spending time with the local children handing out education supplies, playing games, and just doing anything we could to brighten their day," says Geller.
With the support of four nurses, a nurse practitioner, and a local India team, the mission trip as a whole provided healthcare services to almost 8,000 patients over the course of six days.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to use the skills I’ve learned as an optometrist and serve people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to eyecare,” says Geller. “That’s why we become optometrists—to help people. Although I don’t see patients in the United States anymore, I’ve certainly found a new way to use my training by helping those who need it most.”
Andhra Pradesh has rolled out several initiatives to increase healthcare services and decrease out of pocket costs across the state, but rural communities especially face significant barriers to access. iCAREforINDIA is one of several missions focused on providing healthcare services to underserved populations across the globe.
iCAREforINDIA is powered by Healthbridge Global, whose mission is, in the words of Dr. Lech, “to connect healthcare initiatives in developing nations with resources that expand their capacity to meet medical and spiritual needs . . . We help resource local solutions led by local leaders in developing nations to bring sustainable health to their physical and spiritual lives.”
Founded by Aaron Lech in 2006, iCAREforINDIA partners with eyecare professionals, eyewear companies, pharmaceutical companies, and equipment manufacturers to bring vision care to rural southeast India. iCAREforINDIA additionally provides training in healthcare service and support to local doctors so they can provide care on a long-term and sustainable basis.
Prior to the January mission trip, iCAREforINDIA raised $30,000 of charitable donations, and have now raised $40,000 of their goal of $50,000. These donations go directly to providing healthcare to underserved people in Andhra Pradesh.
To donate to the iCAREforINDIA project, visit iCAREforINDIA.org.