New data shows an eye care programmme in Ethiopia is doing far better than even experts had expected. The research, which was released by Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), found that around 184,000 Ethiopians have received proper eye care treatment since the programme was established just three years ago.
This eye care programme was able to screen all of these patients, provide free eyeglasses to patients who needed them, and even treat those with various eye diseases. These eye care facilities were limited to five districts in the southern region of the African nation. There's no word yet on whether or not this programme will expand and offer its services to the whole of Ethiopia anytime soon.
The main groups behind organizing these eye care facilities include the VAO and the Department for International Development (DFID). Prescription lens company Essilor UK also donated a substantial sum to this Ethiopian project.
The team at VAO worked closely with Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber (GTM), an Ethiopian NGO, to organize these eye care facilities throughout the nation. Everyone involved in this venture is extremely happy with the success of the project.
When they broke down the numbers, VAO found that 184,491 Ethiopians were screened using these free eye care facilities. VAO reported that 14,909 of these patients were able to obtain free eyeglasses and 5,150 patients were treated for various eye diseases. Also, VAO said eye doctors were able to train 710 Ethiopian teachers to successfully identify common eye conditions in schoolchildren.
2,569 schoolchildren were treated for various eye diseases thanks to this charity organization. Researchers found that 73 percent of these children got better grades at school after receiving proper eye care.
Ethiopians are extremely grateful for the free eye care services they've been receiving over the past few years. 78 percent of people who received free eyeglasses from this service said their quality of life has greatly improved over the past year.
The head of this eye care programme in Ethiopia, Anne Buglass, told reporters the results from this latest survey prove just how important proper eye care is to any community. Buglass said that over £200 billion in productivity is wasted every year simply because the workforce in Ethiopia doesn't have access to glasses or eye care.
Buglass went on to say that not only does this survey reveal how important eye care is in terms of economic activity, it also proves that successful programmes can easily be put in place and have a huge influence on the lives of locals. People with easy access to proper eye care have a far better chance of succeeding in the workplace and at school. Simply put, high-quality eye care makes everyone's lives more fulfilling, stress-free, and, of course, a whole lot clearer.