Dipak Kumar Sah is one of the most dynamic, efficient, focused and promising leaders in the eye health sector of Nepal among his contemporaries. He has been working to provide vision care to under served and displaced population for the last 9 years while he was a student and has served more than 60,000 patients by organizing more than 300 eye camps from different organizations in the rural and unreached population in Nepal. We feel proud to nominate him as an Eye Health Hero 2020.
Besides community work he has been working in policy advocacy. From the time of being a student of Bachelor of Optometry, he has always worked with the Nepalese Association of Optometrist (NAO) to establish optometrists as a recognized eye health profession in Nepal. His major contributions was giving feedback for drafting the Code of Ethics for Optometrist, endorsed by Nepal Health Professional Council (NHPC),1st legal document for optometrist in Nepal to represent NAO, as a team lead in coordination with Ministry of Health and Population and other National NGO and International INGOs.
The major policy advocacy done in his leadership is representing NAO in the finalizing workshop of National Health Policy 2019 where he strongly advocated to integrate eye health service in the basic health service package and spectacle, ocular devices to be regulated as medicine for quality control. We are happy that eye health for the 1st time was included and integrated in basic health service of Nepal. He has been advocating for regulation of eye clinics and opticals run by unqualified professionals. In his leadership we prepared a draft of Optical Act and submitted to Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP). He was a coordinator for World Sight Day programme 2019 representing NAO at Department of Health Services (DOHS), which was the 1st time MOHP organized World Sight Day in its full leadership. He is the co-lead to envision a National Campaign for advocacy of sustainable regular vision checkup programme called “Vision Screening March Months 2020” which targeted to screen 100,000 people from all over the country, and National coordinator for the programme. The campaign was inaugurated jointly by Minister of Health and Population and State Minister of Health and Population by unfolding vision chart prepared by Dipak and team from NAO. MOHP is planning to take this programme as a National programme in its leadership. MOHP has started re-structuring the health structures and is planning on making two strong bodies: Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Now, Dipak is strongly pushing hard with the team to create a separate eye department in CDC and a separate section to regulate all the optical products and optical outlets for quality assurance at FDA.
“Treating patients at the hospital is just like a tip of iceberg in a sea, about 15-20 % population in Nepal. I love to go out in an unattended communities to serve the poor people who cannot afford to come out of the community and cure theirs suffering.
INGO’s and NGO’s alone cannot fulfill current growing need, there is a strong need of political will guided by policies, planning from government sector in eye health service which can lead us to people-centric eye care to achieve Universal Health Coverage. I persistently want to work in the sector of policy advocacy to fulfill my dream that one day, 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.”
– Dipak Kumar Sah