Over the course of our four-year Qatar Creating Vision project in India, which came to a close in 2020, we’ve pioneered and piloted the largest child eye health programme of its kind, REACH (Refractive Error Among Children). REACH is a school-screening model that identifies children with refractive error – typically myopia, which makes seeing the blackboard in class harder – and provides them with glasses where necessary.
In Bangladesh, we’ve established a vast and robust community referral network. Starting with ‘vision points’ in schools, community health workers refer people in need of eye care to specialist staff in Vision Centres and hospitals. We're especially pleased to report that most of the seven community Vision Centres we established are now self-financing. In fact, the Government of Bangladesh and local partner BRAC have been so impressed with the centres' effectiveness, they have pledged to build more Vision Centres, bringing specialist eye care services to more districts across the country.
Since the project began, across both countries and together with our partners, we’ve supported the delivery of more than 6 million children’s eye health screenings, leading to nearly 400,000 prescriptions for glasses and over 24,000 surgeries. We’ve also created sustainable eye care services through the training of over 81,000 doctors, ophthalmologists, nurses, teachers, community health workers and surgeons (including specialists in retinopathy of prematurity – a condition which affects premature babies).