Thanks to your support, Optometry Giving Sight allocated or disbursed $1.6 million to 46 eye and vision care projects* in 28 countries in 2013.
Key highlights include:
- 34 students graduated from degree and diploma Optometry programs in Africa
- 12 Schools of Optometry received ongoing and new funding support
- 2,440 people were given direct training and skills development
- 139,450 children were screened as part of Child Eye Health Programs
- 44,268 people received direct access to eye and vision care
Schools Of Optometry
We continued to prioritize support for Schools of Optometry in Africa (Malawi, Eritrea, Mali, Mozambique, Cameroon), Asia (Vietnam) and Latin America (Nicaragua, Argentina). We are now also supporting the establishment of new schools in Haiti, Mexico and Moldova (Eastern Europe); and the development of Optometry programs in Sri Lanka.
As a result, hundreds of students now have access to more equipment for clinical training, locally developed curricula and training materials, student scholarships and fellowships, and infrastructure support. Many more will benefit over time, with this year’s cohort of 34 new graduates already providing access to eye care as part of internships and local placements within the public health systems in their countries. Collectively, they have the potential to impact tens of thousand of lives in just their first year of practice!
Skills training has also been provided for 2,440 people. These include Eyeteach© workshops in India, Peru and online which are designed to increase the capacity of local clinicians to work as eye care educators; programs that provide clinical training for eye care workers in India, Indonesia and East Timor; a social entrepreneurship project in Haiti; and skills training for Optometry students working with Indigenous and remote communities in Australia and Latin America.
We continue to provide support to Vision Centers, including the newly opened Vision Plus Clinic in Haiti, which currently sees more than 200 people per week. Equipment and training were also provided for Vision Centers in India; and for the development of Optical shops in El Salvador.
Child Eye Health
139,450 students benefitted from Child Eye Health programs in Tanzania (Africa), Cambodia, Nepal, El Salvador and Australia. These programs help to ensure that children have access to eye care during their formative stages in school by training teachers and health care workers to undertake school screening and making referrals where needed.
In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) unanimously approved the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019: “Towards Universal Eye Health”. Optometry Giving Sight provided funding as part of a consortium of eye health NGOs to support the development of the plan, which is now regarded as the most important strategic document in global eye health.
The typhoon that hit the Philippines in December was a stark reminder of the impact that natural disasters can have on lives – and livelihoods. We have been working in combination with our partners to provide support for a team of global optometrists who are volunteering their services to provide eye care to people in the affected areas.
An additional 44,268 people received access to an eye examination and glasses, and where needed a referral, in Singapore, USA, UK, India, East Timor, Haiti and Eritrea.
Thank you to our donors, sponsors, National Committee and Board members, media partners and everyone who has helped us to raise funds for these vital, high impact projects that are helping to eliminate the backlog of refractive error blindness and impaired vision.
There is much more we can do and we very much look forward to your continued support in 2014.
* Project partners include: Brien Holden Vision Institute, India Vision Institute, Provision Optometric Teams, Sumba Eye Program, Northwest Optometry, World Council of Optometry, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, VOSH International, Fudem, Special Olympics, Vision for the Poor, Vision Spring, Equal Health, LV Prasad Eye Institute, SPECS, Vision Care for the Homeless, Essilor Vision Foundation, Optometry Giving Sight, Transitions, Nepalese Association of Optometrists.
* Photo captions 1. Kids Celebration of Sight:Students from Chennai in India exchanged cards with students from Texas, USA to share the experience of being screened and given glasses on World Sight Day. (Pic: Alcon Foundation / Essilor Vision Foundation); 2.Mozambique (previous page). The class of 2013. 9 graduates from Lurio University who are the very first degree qualified optometrists in Mozambique. (Pic: Brien Holden Vision Institute); 3. Child Eye Health, Tanzania (previous page). A student with his new glasses. (Pic: CooperVision/Cielo Pictures).