School Eye Health Programme

Programme Name: School Eye Health Programme Pakistan

Duration: March 2010 to April 2014 (5 years)

Donor: Light For the World (LFTW), Austria

Geographical Locations: District Swabi & District Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Goals/Objectives

The overall objective of the project was to improve quality of life and educational capabilities by eliminating blindness and visual disability due to uncorrected refractive errors among the school children of district/state of Pakistan.

The specific objectives/purpose of the project was that “the prevalence of eye diseases and refractive errors are decreased among children (5-12 years age) at the community level.

Outcomes/Impact

  • In developing countries, programmes which provide primary level eye healthcare services to children at school level play a significant role to reduce the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment.
  • By proper and timely diagnosis, the schoolgoing children can have a better vision resulting in chances of success in their educational career and ultimately contributing in improving the quality of life of schoolgoing 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 doorstep 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 indifference towards accepting guidelines from health team because they judge them as outsiders. That is why, training personnel at school 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 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 screened by trained teachers in order to identify eye related complications (Vitamin A deficiency, Ptosis Refractive Error, Squint, etc.)
  • School-to-school visits by eye care team to assess, treat and refer children, 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