Get-hooked June 9, 2020
Qatar Fund for Development’s Eye Health Initiative brings clear vision to kids in India & Bangladesh
The Eye Health Initiative of the Qatar Fund for Development has exceeded targets bringing clear vision to millions of children in India and Bangladesh through eye screenings, treatments and the training of community leaders.
Over 6.6 million eye tests and treatments have been provided to children across India and Bangladesh thanks to the Qatar Creating Vision Initiative of the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD). This is a million more than the target originally set.
Funded by the QFFD and led by Orbis, the international blindness prevention charity, Qatar Creating Vision is an eye health initiative that works to reduce childhood blindness in India and Bangladesh. The first phase of programmes is due to end this year. The initiative has stormed past all of its goals well ahead of schedule, helping hundreds of thousands to see clearly again.
Eye screening programme launched in 2016
This school eye screening programme has enabled Orbis and their partners to find children struggling with their sight. The Qatar Creating Vision projects also focus on developing skills within communities to help drive people to eye care services. Since the project started in 2016, over 80,000 teachers, students, religious leaders etc. have been trained to spot the first signs of vision loss.
India and Bangladesh report among the highest childhood blindness numbers in the world. Many children fail to access treatment either due to high costs or access. With 80% of a child’s learning processed through their vision, lack of sight can lead to a denial of lack of education and missed opportunities. Given that half of childhood blindness is preventable or treatable, vast numbers of children are suffering unnecessarily.
Programme supports families in refugee camps
In 2018, with the support of QFFD, Orbis expanded Qatar Creating Vision to provide services to children and adults struggling with sight loss within the Rohingya and local host community in south east Bangladesh. Demand for services has been extremely high. In the first three months of 2020, of the 22,000 who were screened for eye conditions, almost half required some form of treatment including surgery, glasses or antibiotics.
We’re delighted that we have been able to support Qatar Creating Vision initiative reach even more people than originally planned and with a few more months of the initiative to go with our strategic implementing partner Orbis, even more can be achieved. Sometimes a simple pair of glasses or a short operation is all it takes to help a child get the most out of their education, or enable an adult to support their family. The Qatar Creating Vision initiative has provided opportunities for people to seek the treatment they deserve.- His Excellency Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General, Qatar Fund for Development
Rebecca Cronin, CEO, Orbis United Kingdom, said the QFFD’s commitment has helped Orbis to deliver eye care to those in need.
“It has helped us to reach millions of children, finding those with vision loss before their sight is affected forever. Our expansion into the camps in south east Bangladesh has resulted in services being offered to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Many have never had access to eye care before. As we adapt and find ways to continue to reach those with sight loss in this trying time, we thank the Qatar Fund for Development, whose support continues to help us bring services closer to home for those who need it most.”
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