Essilor partnership focuses on eye care in Bangladesh

The international lens company joins forces with the Australian Government to launch Eye Mitra

Essilor Eye Mitra shop

Essilor has entered into a partnership with the Australian Government to establish a programme that will enable affordable vision care to be offered to almost 100,000 low income people in rural Bangladesh.

The lens company was selected by the Government to be part of an aid investment scheme that focuses on social and commercial improvements in developing countries.

As a result of the partnership, Essilor has launched Eye Mitra, a business model that aims to train young people to become eye care providers and will support them in setting up village-based businesses to screen for vision problems and dispense affordable spectacles, when necessary.

Uncorrected vision affects an estimated 2.5 billion people, 90% of whom live in developing countries. Every year $272bn(USD) is wasted in the global economy due to lost productivity as a result of uncorrected poor vision, Essilor emphasised.

Speaking about the initiative, Essilor’s chief mission officer, Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, told OT: “Uncorrected poor vision affects one in three people worldwide impacting their ability to learn, work and be safe. At Essilor we are working to eradicate poor vision by raising awareness of the issue and creating access to vision care where it is needed most. We look forward to bringing the immediate benefits of eyeglasses to people in rural Bangladesh.”

Essilor launched the Eye Mitra programme in December 2017 alongside non-profit organisation Grameen Kalyan and local training partner MART. Grameen Kalyan will support the company in establishing 400 Eye Mitra shops and, where necessary, provide micro-loans to Eye Mitras as they build their micro-enterprises.

Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Her Excellency, Julia Niblett, added: “The Australian Government supports private sector engagement in development and is very pleased to partner with Essilor, who will work with local partners to train Eye Mitras to help provide eye care services in rural Bangladesh.”