Blindness bring sorrows and grief to the life of a person regardless of the stage he is in; however the burden become more unbearable when it occurs at an early stage of life. Imagine a child who got refractive error and left undetected, untreated or uncorrected. His future becomes uncertain in terms of education and socioeconomic development! No doubt, he will face hardships and adversities that, may be, leave him in a life full of deprivation and destitution. The main cause of visual impairment in children is uncorrected refractive errors. The majority of parents and even school teachers have very little knowledge about these errors and their short and long time consequences. These errors may lead to amblyopia which turns into blindness in children. Despite the fact that refractive error in children is one of the priorities of the World Health Organization, till now there is no study done at the national level in Bangladesh to know the rate of prevalence of this error among the school children. Al-Basar International Foundation made a significant contribution in this aspect along with rendering treatment to children facing any kind of eyes diseases.
The project sketched to examine 200,000 students in 200 + schools in Dhaka to discover the visual problems and manage them at our specialized eye hospitals through comprehensive treatment, surgeries, medicines, eyeglasses, and other forms of medical care and also providing a statistics to the government to take the necessary initiatives in this regard.
In 2015, the School Program for Eye Health was already able to reach over 40,163 students in 104 schools within Dhaka city and surrounding areas.
The program also trained 190 teachers of different schools so that they can perform the visual screening at their school set up and help students become aware of their eye health along with their parents.
The results showed that 3,266 (8.1%) had eye problems. Consequently, 1,433 cases had refractions within the school campus, 501 cases were referred to hospitals for treatment, 25 students underwent eye surgeries, and 815 students received eyeglasses.
During the program period some parents refused to get their children operated, out of fear of adverse effects or wanted to wait till the end of the academic year. Social counsellor visited those families to explain the importance of those operations for their children and convinced to have the surgery done at their convenient time.
The rate of eye problems among the school children in Bangladesh is relatively high compared to other countries, which affects sights among schoolchildren and reflects negativity on their academic achievement and self-development.
Action Plan of the Program
The action plan of the program involved selecting the schools, choosing a group of teachers to receive training in measuring vision at school set up and detect eye abnormalities to refer to an eye hospital. Record every students’ information in a codeing sheet. Holding training courses for the medics of Al-Basar International Foundation, who are responsible for the implementation of the program, and holding a specialized course on data entry and statistical analysis using the SPSS software.
This health program is the result of an agreement signed in November 2014 by Al-Basar International Foundation, QRCS and the Islamic Call Organization.