Reshma Dabideen has devoted the majority of her life to improving the lives of others through her dedication to quality vision care. She has continuously committed herself to helping realize the Vision 2020 goal of “a world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, and where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential”. She has demonstrated commitment through her direct clinical care, contributions in research, and leadership roles in programme development and implementation across multiple NGOs.
Reshma has an unwavering commitment to high standards of clinical care. She personified these standards in her early days as a practicing optometrist, and has championed this in her work at Orbis, BHVI and now at OneSight. She firmly believes that all who have vision loss deserve comprehensive eye care and is committed to ensuring that all patients receive the care and treatment they need, despite many challenges in the environment in which care is given. She has also been a consistent advocate for seeking new and innovative ways to provide this care, through the use of proven technology and the expansion of different programmes and educational tools. Working in previous NGOs, she was able to expand treatment options and build personnel capacity—particularly for the care of children—including spearheading one of the first efforts to screen one million schoolchildren in South Africa.
In her time at OneSight, she has been the key leader expanding a programming model that provides permanent care to communities through self-sustaining vision centers. In addition to scaling this model across multiple countries, she led the creation and successful implementation of the first transition strategy in The Gambia which gave OneSight a more complete picture of the truly sustainable nature of the model. Through Reshma’s direct leadership, these centers now bring vision care access to millions across Africa.
One of Reshma’s other long-lasting and greatest contributions is her ongoing commitment to coaching and the development of young professionals in the INGO vision care sector. She possesses a potent combination of focused strategic thinking, clear communication, and a passion for teaching key skills. She also sets a high bar for expectations with her team of country, finance, operations managers, and support staff, resulting in a team of passionate, dedicated and highly effective ‘waymakers’. Reshma’s guidance and leadership is truly building the future of Vision 2020’s ongoing efforts to deliver the ‘right to sight’ to everyone, everywhere.
Reshma represents all the key attributes that are critical to achieving the full goal of Vision 2020. She is devoted to high quality care. She believes deeply in the impact she personally can have on people with limited vision. She has demonstrated a lifetime of service to improve life for others through vision care; and she has built the capacity in others to magnify the impact of her individual work. Looking at the difference she has made throughout her career, I am honored to nominate her for the Vision Excellence Awards.