Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) has confirmed a three-year extension of its partnership with Essilor that aims to improve access to eye care services in disadvantaged communities in southern Ethiopia.
The project was established in 2014 and is currently supporting the delivery of eye care through partnerships with two medical centres that are run by the Ethiopian charity, Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber (GTM).
Over the last three years, 80% of the vision screening performed has been done so via an outreach programme. To date, over 340,000 screenings have taken place resulting in spectacles for 22,000 people.
Essilor supports the programme through its Vision for Life initiative and over the next three years, the project aims to deliver vision screening to 90,000 people, offering vision correction to an estimated 20,000 people for the first time.
Confirming the extension of the partnership, Essilor’s corporate social responsibility director, Nigel Corbett, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with VAO for this major initiative which is bringing huge benefits in a country now emerging from recent troubled times. By correcting refractive errors and detecting vision disorders, the programme is enhancing quality of life for children to improve their educational and future life prospects and helping the poorest adults to improve their productivity and earnings potential.”
He emphasised: “Projects of this nature have significant socio-economic benefits for individuals and communities and help to alleviate poverty and create prosperity in developing countries.”
Sharing statistics to highlight the positive outcomes of the programme to date, VAO’s director of fundraising and communication, said: “Because of our partnership with GTM and Essilor in Ethiopia, 78% of adults surveyed after receiving treatment in the form of minor surgery or the provision of glasses have reported an improvement in their quality of life and an increase in household income after treatment. Furthermore, 73% of children treated under the project showed improvements in their school performance since receiving the treatment.”