Sightsavers has helped to give out more than 137,000 pairs of reading glasses and sunglasses in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Malawi, Mozambique, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia.
The spectacles were provided by VisionSpring and were distributed through a four-year Sightsavers-supported project to make sure glasses are available at general eye health camps, as part of the CATCH initiative.
The initiative has been publicised through radio shows, town criers and education within the community, leading to a rise in the number of patients attending eye health camps. This has, in turn, increased demand for glasses.
Pupils at Miheline Primary School in the north-east of the country were visited by a ‘health brigade’ of local health workers, who taught them about the importance of keeping hands and faces clean to prevent the spread of eye diseases such as conjunctivitis and trachoma.
In total, 84 children took part in the initiative, alongside school staff and members of the local authorities. Both adults and children took it in turns to demonstrate how to wash properly. The project was funded by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. More from Mozambique
Staff from Sightsavers’ Senegal country office took part in a workshop with representatives from the country’s national eye health programme and the Division of Statistics and Health Information to review the programme and devise better ways of reporting eye health data.
The workshop also aimed to help senior ophthalmic technicians improve their data reporting skills.
Sightsavers is working with the Division of Statistic and Health Information to complete the improvements by the end of the year. The work is funded by Irish Aid. More from Senegal
A team in Guinea travelled for two days to the remote N’Zerekore region to provide vital treatment for patients with neglected tropical diseases.
The region, which is 954km from the capital, Conakry, can only be reached via mud roads, which are often in a bad state of repair. When they arrived, the team were able to diagnose and treat a number of patients who had lymphatic filariasis and related conditions. The work is part of a programme funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). More from Guinea
Sightsavers staff took part in a national meeting of experts at the World Health Organization office to discuss plans for eliminating river blindness in the country.
The disease is still being transmitted between people in Cote d’Ivoire, partly because of the lack of an existing plan for elimination, and also because treatment has been interrupted by a lack of funding and the political and military crisis that occurred in 2002.
At the meeting, experts agreed to research the breeding sites of the flies that spread the disease, as well as continuing to distribute treatments in an effort to move closer to eliminating the disease. More from Cote d’Ivoire