This profile was prepared when Kovin Naidoo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Determined to bring eye care and blindness prevention to the poor, Kovin has developed a comprehensive, sustainable, and horizontal economic service delivery model for poor rural communities in South Africa. His model shifts the primary responsibility for refractive services and blindness prevention from private sector professionals to cadres of community eye and health care workers. Using a horizontal model which develops a value chain encompassing educationalists, educators, practitioners, clinics, hospitals, suppliers and the community, Kovin has intricately knit together a model for providing eye care, making it both affordable and accessible by the rural poor. His model comprehensively utilizes each component of the value chain, from education and training of eye care practitioners to establishment of examination sites, technical equipment and support, and manufacturing of lenses and frames. Additionally, Kovin has constructed incentives and configured relationships that ensure a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved in the model, which has elicited buy-in for his program and has made it sustainable.