Amirul Islam on behalf of Swinburne University of Technology
To promote school-based vision screening for young people in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a country of 63 million people of whom 30% are 15 years of age or younger, mostly schoolchildren. It is reported that 52 out of every 1,000 children are blind, with a visual acuity less than 6/60. Refractive error is the commonest cause of poor vision. Assessment of the visual status of school-going children is essential because vision plays a crucial role in their learning and personality development. Community-based strategies can help in early detection of vision problems, especially in rural areas. Vision screening in schools by teachers is an effective method of identifying children with abnormal vision who need to be referred to a local eye care centre for treatment. This project will provide training to 600 schoolteachers, educate 500-600 health professionals on the importance of vision screening, screen 300,000 school students and refer them for treatments as necessary, and equip schools with screening tools.
Sustainability of the project will be ensured as the school screening program will be run by volunteer schoolteachers. Health professionals, health authorities and the government department of education will also be involved in the program and will work with the teachers as a social commitment. The organisation will take a small non-profit service charge to ensure sustainability, with philanthropic donations sought to bear the cost for students who need financial support to be treated.