School Eye Health Program Pakistan

Program Name: School Eye Health Program Pakistan

Duration: March 2010 to April 2014 (5 years)

Donor: Light For the world (LFTW) Austria

Geographical Locations: District Swabi & District Abbottabad, KPK, Pakistan

Goals/Objectives:

The overall objective of the project “is to improve quality of life and educational capabilities by eliminating blindness and visual disability due to uncorrected refractive errors in school children of district/state of Pakistan and Nigeria”

The specific objectives/purpose of the project is that “the prevalence of eye disease and refractive error decreased among children at community level. (age group 5 to 12)children in both countries.

Outcomes/Impacts:

  • In developing countries, Programmes that provide a primary level eye health services to children at school level play a significant role to reduce the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment at the national level.
  • By proper and timely diagnoses the school going children can have better vision resulting in better chances of success in their educational career and ultimately contributes in improving the quality of life of school going children.
  • In rural and unstable environment eye health becomes very low on the priority list of personal services as people are more concerned about their safety and necessity. But providing adequate eye care services at their doorsteps do have a positive impact on changing their behavior.
  • Training of teachers intensifies ownership of the programme and that of primary eye care. Sometimes community shows difficulties in accepting guidelines from health team because they judge them as outsiders, that is why, training personnel at school s and community level has more rapid effects.
  • It is our common perception that knowledge leads to action and lack of knowledge among community members prevent them from using health care services but, in reality, sometimes despite the knowledgeable people need further support and facilitation.

Accomplishments:

  • Selection of two populace districts having stable literacy rate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (i.e. Abbottabad and Swabi).
  • Coordination with provincial and district education authorities and signing of Memorandum of Understanding with them.
  • Development of vision testing system at school level.
  • Capacity building of teachers to screen children for refractive errors.
  • Children of 5 to 12 years of age to be screened by trained teachers in order to identify eye related complications (Vitamin A Deficiency, Ptosis Refractive Error, Squint etc.)
  • School to school visits of eye care team to assess, treat and refer defective children, their teachers and family members.
  • Awareness raising campaign regarding eye care, hygiene and healthy environment.
  • Development of referral mechanism for advanced treatment
  • Provision of free spectacles.