Sebastian Nwosu on behalf of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi Nigeria
To train teachers to screen children for visual impairment in Nnewi South, Anambra, Nigeria
Childhood visual loss is a public health concern in Nigeria where its prevalence and incidence are high, especially in rural areas. It is a cause of poor academic performance, an important reason for dropping out of school and an avoidable cause of disability. Eye care workers are few and mainly located in urban areas. Teachers are an important group of educated people that are with the children for 9 months each year. If they are trained how to test the vision of their pupils, they will be in a position to detect those with visual defects early and refer them for specialist care. After training, it is estimated that more than two hundred thousand school children will be screened yearly in Anambra State Nigeria by primary school teachers. However, there are no vision charts in schools, and so there is a need to produce them and other relevant materials in large enough numbers for use in primary schools throughout Anambra State.
The specific objectives of this project are to train teachers on the use of vision charts and proper recording of the values separately for each eye; to train teachers to detect the common causes of visual loss in children such as squint and cataract; and to encourage teachers to refer these children for specialist care.
There will be advocacy to the local government education authority and the Anambra State Ministries of Education and Health on the usefulness of school vision screening in primary schools. The results of this project will become a strong advocacy tool, with the ultimate goal being for vision screening to be incorporated in the school health programme. The government and other stakeholders in education and children's health would then take ownership and ensure this project's long-term sustainability.