At the beginning of this year, Optelec has launched the initiative Get Sight, Give Sight! . This initiative aimed to help people in Africa to regain their sight. By donating a portion of the purchase price of ClearView+ and Compact video magnifiers sold in the first half of 2013, Optelec sponsored the activities of the foundation Focus on Vision: educating people about eye care, organizing local eye tests and providing self-adjustable Focusspec® glasses for people with poor eye sight.
Millions of children and adults in African countries cannot get their sight problems checked and resolved due to the lack of available and affordable eye care service. As there are many other issues and priorities in the area, it will take a while before sufficient trained specialists can provide the necessary eye care for everyone.
In the meantime, the self-adjustable Focusspec glasses offer a relatively simple and affordable solution which can be of an enormous help. Focus on Vision's experience shows that someone who is trained to do eye tests with Focusspec glasses can help up to 150 people a day.
One third of the total Get Sight, Give Sight! donation was used to train local nurses to become vision guardians. These trained nurses are now able to diagnose refractive errors which are the most common types of eye conditions and to help people by providing them with Focusspecs glasses.
In Kenya, trainings were organized in corporation with the local organization CEPHER. Ten nurses have initially been trained to become vision guardians. These specialists can travel around the country to perform eye test and to train more nurses. For their journeys, the vision guardians use motorcycles provided by the institution Global Fund who teamed up with the project. When the training is completed, the guardians will be able to serve a large area in Kenya with a total of 600.000 inhabitants.
Besides Kenya, similar programs have been started in Ghana and in Tanzania. In these countries local Optometrists are involved who have good connections with eye care organization. They apply the same approach: setting up a team of vision guardians equipped with the means and knowledge to improve the quality of life of people.
The final achievements of the Get Sight, Give Sight! initiative are:
- more than people trained to perform eye tests in Kenya’s, Ghana’s and Tanzania’s rural area;
- and more than Focusspec glasses distributed to people who otherwise could not afford to buy spectacles.
Achieving these results would not have been possible without you who choose to buy an Optelec video magnifier. Therefore, on behalf of the people, whose lives have changed, we would like to thank everyone who contributed to the initiative!
Did you know?
- In Western countries around 50% of the population wears glasses. This percentage in Africa is only 5 although the percentage of people who would need vision correction is even higher.
- In Europe there is one eye doctor per 20.000 people, in the U.S. one eye doctor per 25.000 people. In Africa there are significantly less educated eye specialists, approximately one per 1 million people.
- To provide people with regular glasses specialists are needed. On a traditional eye camp the sight of around 20 people per day can be examined and helped requiring the work of four to five specialists.