Eye Health Heroes 2020 by IAPB

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Change Makers Future Leaders Innovators

Eye Health Heroes 2020

“The Eye Health Heroes 2020 innovative program provides the eye health sector with the opportunity to recognize and celebrate frontline eye care staff and managers of age less than 35 years, whose work and involvement in the community makes a real difference in restoring sight.” – IAPB

Who are Eye Health Heroes?

The Eye Health Heroes program was introduced in 2012 by The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). Since then the IAPB has been awarding the front-line eye health workers who are engaging in the community to make a real difference in restoring sight and aiding vision throughout the world.

eye-health-heroes-2020-by-iapb
Photos & Logo by IAPB

Eye Health Heroes are the innovators, change-makers, and emerging leaders from many corners of the globe contributing with passion, purpose, and determination in the eye health sector. They are the source of inspiration to all of us to work together to make the world free of visual impairment and avoidable blindness.

Whatever profession they might be involving in, the praiseworthy deeds of the Eye Health Heroes deserve to be shared.

Every year The IAPB awards the Eye Health Heroes (selected from across the IAPB membership) in three categories: Change-Makers, Innovators, and Future Leaders.

The IAPB’s International Eye Health Heroes 2020 program was launched by IAPB global ambassador, HRH the Countess of Wessex, in July, and winners have been awarded in three categories: Changemakers, Innovators, and Future Leaders. In 2020, a record 52 Eye Health Heroes were awarded ahead of World Sight Day on Thursday 8 October, from 27 countries representing a vast range of eye health workers under 35 – from optometrists to NGO and warehouse workers.

This year’s Eye Health Heroes have been working on the front line tackling the response to Covid-19 as well as a number of other areas including in research and development, advocacy, support services, or community and clinical aspects of ophthalmology and optometry.



Eye Health Heroes – Change-Makers

Change-makers’ actions speak louder than anything. They are motivated to act. They turn good ideas into action and they keep trying until they have made a difference. From embedding eye health in health systems, changing corporate behavior, or bringing about policy change they are actively bringing positive change through their actions.

Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Change-Makers

The IAPB Eye Health Heroes – Change-makers for 2020 represent the diversity of eye health practice and the promise of what youth and new ideas can achieve in the sector. Have a look and celebrate the Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Change Makers listed below.

eye-health-heroes-2020-change-makers-by-iapb
Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Change Makers
Photo by IAPB

1. Alexander Paez Matallana

  • Project Coordinator, Fundación Vision

Blindness is very exciting to Alexander. He is passionate about managing projects that, through research and advocacy, enable communities to recover their visual capacity while at the same time strengthening all the processes related to health. All the work in the prevention of blindness caused by cataracts or ROP that he has done has one purpose: to improve the quality of life of many people.

2. Ambika Sapkota

  • Vision Technician, Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital

The community where at first she felt afraid is now the safest place where she can be and she would do everything to improve their livelihood empowering them through better vision.

3. Dipak Kumar Sah

  • Spokesperson, Nepalese Association of Optometrists

Treating patients at the hospital is just like the tip of an iceberg in a sea, about 15-20 % population in Nepal. Dipak loves to go out in unattended communities to serve the poor people who cannot afford to come out of the community and cure their suffering.
INGOs and NGOs alone cannot fulfill a current growing need, there is a strong need for political will guided by policies, planning from the government sector in eye health service which can lead us to people-centric eye care to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

He persistently wants to work in the sector of policy advocacy to fulfill his dream that one day, the government will fully integrate eye health service in basic health service for primary eye care in all Local government of Nepal, and every Nepali citizen gets an eye checkup, at least once a year.

4. Eiskuke SHIMIZU

  • CEO, Co-Founder, OUI Inc.

Blindness is similar to the patient’s death to the ophthalmologists. Moreover, preventing and treating blindness is not just improving patients’ vision but also adds to their daily life. In addition, blindness and visual impairment are the number 1 cause of the daily decrease in the sensory disorder and the cost will be the same as Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs. The reasons for world blindness are aging, shortage of ophthalmologists, and lack of medical devices. Therefore, as the CEO of the MD founded a startup, Eiskuke’s vision which prevents and treats world blindness is worthwhile.”

5. Geeta Fulari

  • Manager, Quality Assurance, Sankara Eye Care

Geeta loves to see the results achieved in Patient Safety and quality of care for all Eyecare patients. It Gives her the utmost pleasure to be contributing and providing services, especially for community patients.

She loves to collaborate with various senior leaders, managers, and medical staff to develop and achieve quality, safety, and risk mitigation strategies for the organization in alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives and goals. It’s very fulfilling to formulate COVID-19 safety protocols and to coordinate with team members across units to implement them in a time-bound manner and thereby ensure patient and staff safety in the current pandemic.



6. Indra Prasad Sharma

  • Clinical Optometrist, GCW National Eye Center

Having been born and brought up in a small village in Bhutan, Indra experienced a real-life situation of living in a remote community. It was since then, he was determined to pursue health and impact the lives of the community. Joining the Ministry of Health as the country’s first optometrist was an opportunity for him to make some contribution.

Working in eye health for almost a decade, he has realized that every effort in eye health can bring changes in improving the lives of the underprivileged population. Indra is passionate about his profession and commits to taking responsibility with due diligence and integrity.

7. Issam-Eddine Elleuch

  • Asst. Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Tunis

What Issam-Eddine loves the most about his role is that moment when he takes the eye pad off an underprivileged blind person he operated on a day before for cataract and just see the smile the patient puts on his face because he regained his sight. At that moment you know that you helped make the world a better place.

8. Jalikatu Mustapha

  • Ophthalmologist, Connaught Hospital

As her eye pad is removed the day after cataract surgery, 74-year old Amina, bilaterally blind for 3 years, happily shouts ‘Doctor, I can see you clearly”. That look of pure joy and hope in her eyes is why I love my job. To be able to help people like Amina get back their sight and usually, their agency, dignity, and livelihood is an absolute blessing to me.

Overseeing Sierra Leone’s Eye Care program means not only helping individuals like Amina but developing policies that will protect present and future generations from avoidable blindness in our country.

9. Lucky Aziken

  • CEO, Vision Care Givers International Initiative

Nothing hurts like seeing a loved one become blind and everyone is helpless. Lucky knows the feeling and he believes it can be avoided if we stood up for the vulnerable and neglected in our societies. He wakes up daily with a sense of responsibility to ensure no one is needlessly blind and he is excited when he is able to create sustainable access to quality eye care in underserved communities. Quality eye care must be everywhere as long as he lives.

10. Musrat Shaheen

  • Optometrist, Al Shifa Trust

“Always stay happy and hope for the best”

11. Sujata Bhandari

  • Clinic In-charge, NNJS LEI District Eye Center

“If you focus on reducing suffering, you will have more opportunities to empower the community.”

12. Sulekha Rana

  • Manager, VisionSpring

“My goal in the near future is to ensure that no commercial vehicle driver meets with an accident because of blurry vision due to the absence of eyeglasses. Through VisionSpring’s See to be Safe program, I want to touch the approximately 5 million truckers/commercial vehicle drivers and allied transport workers in India with eye-screenings over the next few years.”

13. Tolossa Bikila

  • Cataract surgeon, Goba Hospital

“I am proud to work for the community who are very neglected and have challenges in accessing eye health service. I am passionate to provide outreach services where the real disadvantaged group is served. Apart from the clinical service I also contribute a lot to eye health management as an eye care department head. I believe you need to be visionary and have the persistence to serve our community.”

14. Vincent Mendy

  • Regional Program Coordinator, OneSight

“I was born to care for and make people feel valued. Working for OneSight has been a dream come true, providing an opportunity to collaborate with people from different backgrounds. My work is centered around providing great care for our patients, partners, and staff. This care enables my team to drive vision center traffic, improve refractions, increase sales, and guide partners in their efforts to achieve financial sustainability. Every employee is deeply attached to our mission and the wonderful patients we serve. Together we continue to form partnerships to fuel our work providing access to those in need.”

15. Vera Carneiro

  • Member, Professional Association of Optometrists

“It’s because of the future and her ability to generate impact, grounded on her experience, knowledge, and enormous heart, that APLO’s cannot imagine better nomination. Primary eye care changes lives and builds the future. Universal access to primary eye care improves child development, adult productivity, elderly autonomy, and the quality of life at any age.”



16. Asitkumar S. Jadhav

  • Optometrist, Mission for Vision

“I love my job since I see it as an opportunity to serve the community at large. I am proud to be part of an energetic group that enables and allows me to learn and implement programs in a sustainable manner. It is quite endearing to work with Vision Centre staff who provide high-quality eye health services to socio-economically challenged communities in remote locations of India. I am also incredibly glad to be a part of an organization such as Mission for Vision that endeavors to eradicate avoidable blindness by enabling eye health services to communities in need.”

Eye Health Heroes – Future Leaders

Future Leaders are influential performers in the eye care sector. “Future Leaders” recognizes that leaders can emerge at all levels and in all roles across eye health but share essential characteristics: they are high performers in their roles, influence others, show potential, and are open to learning and growing from each experience.

Eye Health Heroes 2020- Future Leaders

The IAPB Eye Health Heroes – Future Leaders for 2020 represent the diversity of eye health practice and the promise of what youth and new ideas can achieve in the sector. Have a look and celebrate the Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Future Leaders listed below.

eye-health-heroes-2020-future-leaders-by-iapb
Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Future Leaders.  Photo by IAPB

1. Abhishek Kumar Jha

  • Program Manager, Orbis International

2. Ana Jeissy Blanquel García

  • Pasante de servicio social, Fundacion Hugo Nano

3. Clelia Crespo Nano

  • Medica Oftalmologa, Fundacion Hugo Nano

4. Evelin Grisel Morales Basilio

  • Optometrist, Ver Bien Para Aprender Mejor

5. Francis Chiemelie Unachukwu

  • Optometrist, Army Command and NAOWA Hospital



6. Grace Chew

  • ASEAN Philanthropy Coordinator, Essilor Vision Foundation

7.Jairo Antonio Mercado

  • Faculty, School of Optometry, Nicaragua

8. Junu Shrestha

  • Clinical optometrist, Health Foundation of Nepal

9. Lauren Hutchinson

  • Optometrist, Eyewear Specs

10. Luke Weinel

  • Deputy Chair, EBAANZ

11. Naadhira Ndukuya

  • Country Manager, South Africa, OneSight

12. Patrick Ndongmo

  • Technical Advisor, Onchocerciasis, Sightsavers

13. Pereira Antonio Rumeque

  • Optometrista, Misau-DPSI

14. Ryner Linuma

  • Project manager, German committee for the prevention of blindness

15. Sarhej Nava García

  • Ophthalmologist, Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmologia IAP

16. Shakti Prasad Subedi

  • Ophthalmologist, Nepal Red Cross Surkhet Eye Hospital

17. Shamim Khan

  • Manager, Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital

18. Sreemadhu V

  • Unit Head, Sankara Eye Care Institutions

19. Sumit Grover

  • Ophthalmologist, Manthan Eye Healthcare Foundation

20. Fatima Zehra

  • Project Manager, Vision Trust

21. Fanuel Nyakonda

  • Ophthalmic Nurse, CBM Global

22. Ming NI

  • The Fred Hollows Foundation




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Eye Health Heroes – Innovators

Innovators are indicators of possibilities. They embrace new ideas and create new possibilities and outcomes. They challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of knowledge to develop new approaches, systems, or appropriate technologies in eye health.

Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Innovators

The IAPB Eye Health Heroes – Innovators for 2020 represent the diversity of eye health practice and the promise of what youth and new ideas can achieve in the sector. Have a look and celebrate the Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Innovators listed below.

eye-health-heroes-2020-innovators-by-iapb
Eye Health Heroes 2020 – Innovators
Photo by IAPB

1. Carlos Santiago Hernand

  • Director of Engineering, PlenOptika

2. Daniel Prakash C

  • Manager – Human Resource, Sankara Eye Institutions

3. Fiza Rasool Mastoi

  • Optometrist, Sightsavers

4. Jeff Soulliere

  • Associate Manager, Opticals, OneSight

5. Jennifer Merryweather

  • Senior Policy Advisor, FHF

6. Juuso Erixon

  • Solution Sales Lead, Optomed

7. María Álvarez

  • Ophthalmologist, Fundacion Elena Barraquer

8. Michael Adusei-Nsowah

  • Innovator, Primary Health Vision Care, Ghana

9. Murk Larik

  • Project coordinator, SIOVS, Pakistan

10. Nikita Thomas

  • Optometrist, School of Optometry & Vision Sciences



11. Selemani Mkapila

  • Nurse, German committee for the prevention of blindness

12. Shenming Hu

  • Head, R&D, He Vision group

13. Sri Ramaprasad Jeyaraj

  • Head, R&D, Appasamy Associates

14. Vijay K Sarvepally

  • Head, Optometry & Community Eye Care, PVRI

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