Vision for a Nation Foundation has supported Rwanda to become the first developing country in the world to provide all its citizens with local access to affordable eye care as screenings reach two million this month.
The UK charity launched its innovative national eye health programme in 2012 and has since trained 2,700 Rwandan Ministry of Health nurses to provide eye care services at the country’s 502 local health centres.
Vision for a Nation has integrated the services within Rwanda’s national health system and pioneered various innovations, including a unique 3-day training course for nurses and outreach to all 15,000 villages in Rwanda. To date, 1m people have received eye medication, 204k have been referred for specialist treatment at local hospitals and 149k have received glasses.
Poor vision is a major development challenge. The Vision Impact Institute estimates that 2.5 billion people suffer from uncorrected poor vision globally. Access Economics estimates the global cost of vision loss at $3 trillion.
Theophile – a textile worker and mother of four – is one of the 2 million Rwandans to have been screened by a Vision for a Nation trained nurse: “Now that I have these glasses, I am not worried [for my job] anymore. The glasses help me in my job and that way I am able to continue to provide for my family.”
The founder of Vision for a Nation, James Chen, visited Nyanza District in Rwanda during the week that the two millionth screening was announced:
“It is testament to the extraordinary engagement by all levels of government, and the dedication of Rwanda’s health care workforce that we have achieved this milestone. I am extremely proud of the work that Vision for a Nation has undertaken in support of Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. We are now planning to make Rwanda our Africa home, while taking our work and innovations to other countries to tackle the huge global challenge of poor vision.”
More about Vision for a Nation Foundation
Vision for a Nation Foundation is an award-winning UK charity that is improving the lives of people with poor vision by transforming access to eye care services. It has supported Rwanda’s Ministry of Health since 2012 to provide the people of Rwanda (11.8m people) with access to local and affordable eye care. The programme will be completed by December 2017. Major funders to the initiative include DFID, James Chen, UBS Optimus Foundation and USAID. Vision for a Nation is now looking to scale its innovative work to other countries around the world.
Launched in 2016 by James Chen, Clearly is a global campaign working to bring clear vision to the 2.5 billion people worldwide denied it, so that everyone can realise their full potential. It is estimated that 80% of cases of poor vision worldwide could be solved by a simple pair of glasses – a solution that has been around for centuries. Clearly is urgently working to get a pair of glasses to everyone that needs them by; campaigning to raise the profile of the issue around the globe; championing innovation and connecting the people committed to tackling this issue so that we can all be a catalyst for change.