Eye Health Hero with Operation Eyesight-trained community health workersThis year, we were incredibly proud to nominate Franklin Daniel, our Head of Programs. As you’ll see in the following post (borrowed from IABP’s website), Daniel truly is a hero in the eye health world – to his colleagues, our partners and all those who have received the gift of sight, thanks to him.
Daniel has dedicated his entire career to reaching and helping the blind and visually impaired. Daniel’s credentials are unquestionable. He has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, a master’s degree in Community Eye Health and a master’s degree in Business Administration – Health Care Services. He also holds several diplomas in Community Eye Health, Resource Teacher’s Training for Visually Impaired Children, Teacher’s Training for Hearing Impaired Children, and Orientation and Mobility.
Armed with his passion and extensive education, Daniel started his career as a teacher for visually impaired children in Madhya Pradesh. He then expanded his skills for teaching children with multiple disabilities and qualified as a Community Based Rehabilitation professional from Blind People’s Association. During his time in Madhya Pradesh, he promoted inclusive education in the four remotest districts of the state.
“I remember reaching out to an interior village, identifying an elderly blind woman who would have never gone for treatment and helping her get quality eye care. It was a remarkable and personally satisfying experience,” Daniel recalls.
Later in his career, Daniel worked with Venu Eye Institute & Research Centre in New Delhi. He served there for more than nine years and established strong community programs in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, focusing on eye health and other disabilities. During this time, he worked closely with INGOs such as Sightsavers, CBM, Orbis and Operation Eyesight Universal.
In 2009, Daniel joined Operation Eyesight’s team, beginning his journey with us by piloting a new community eye health approach. This approach has become our flagship model in all our countries of intervention, leading to over 670 village communities becoming avoidable blindness-free and reducing the prevalence of blindness in our service areas to under 0.3% (World Health Organization/Vision 2020 target).
Today, our supporters know this approach as our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program model.
“I am delighted that I am able to contribute to eliminating avoidable blindness in some of the most challenging regions in India,” Daniel says proudly.
“One highlight in my career was when I met a woman who was a middle school drop-out, who had never left her village before,” Daniel remembers. “But her life turned around after she was trained as a community health worker. She proceeded to take on the responsibility of screening those in her community with eye health issues and ensuring they received the care they needed. It’s incredible how thousands end up being helped by one person we have trained!”In his current role as Head of Programs, Daniel oversees the planning and implementation of over 300 projects including 125 vision centers in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. He has spearheaded the training of over 5,000 community health workers who form the backbone of our community eye health projects.
Through the interventions of Daniel and his program team at Operation Eyesight, we touched over three million lives in 2017 alone!
In the push towards eliminating avoidable blindness, Daniel will play a key role in scaling up our interventions and expanding our work to other countries in need of quality, affordable eye care.
“I am confident that through our joint efforts we will soon see an India free of avoidable blindness!”
Congratulations on this more than deserved recognition, Daniel! We’re so proud to have you, an Eye Health Hero, on our team as together we work to eliminate avoidable blindness… For All The World To See!