A new project to bring eye care to more than 20,000 people in the Lake Zone of Tanzania has been launched.
The Lake Zone Roshanali Nasser’s Outreach Project has been established in partnership between the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI), Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) and Tanzanian-born Dr Moes Nasser.
The initiative will screen 14,000 school children from 14 primary schools in the Nyambiti ward, the Bariadi District and the Misungwi District of the country. Outreach activities will aim to screen another 6000 people in the Lake Zone region.
Teachers in the primary schools will be trained as vision screeners allowing them to screen the children. Optometrists will then examine and refract children who are referred to them by the teachers, as well as prescribe and dispense spectacles and low vision aids when necessary.
Children who are found to have eye conditions that require further investigation will be referred to the Bariadi and Mwanza Vision Centres or the Bugando Referral Hospital.
The initiative has been established in memory of Dr Nasser’s father. Dr Nasser was born in Nyambiti and grew up in Bariadi District before moving to the US to qualify as an optometrist.
Speaking about his support and funding of the project, Dr Nasser said: “I have been fortunate with my life opportunity. Giving sight to people really does give back to humanity and in my profession it feels that way in every examination. I want to be able to extend this life-giving service to the people in the communities of my youth.”
The outreach project will also seek to re-establish school health clubs, which the initiative will supply with eye health promotion materials. It will place vision corridors at each adopted school providing the ongoing capability at the schools to check children’s vision for impairment.
Speaking about the project, programme manager for Tanzania at the BHVI, Eden Mashayo, said: “With the new project supported by Dr Nasser and OGS, we are aiming to build on previous eye care initiatives that we have implemented in the Lake Zone. We are grateful for the new opportunity to further develop local capacity by training teachers as vision screeners and create sustainability through the vision corridors and clubs. This project will also benefit people at the community level as we will reach many people through the mobile outreach activities and be able to provide them with much needed free eye care services.”