Qatar Fund for Development’s Eye Health Initiative Exceeds Targets and Brings Clear Vision to Children in India and Bangladesh
Millions reached through eye screenings, treatments and the training of community leaders
Thanks to the generosity of The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), it has today been announced that over 6.5 million eye tests and treatments have been provided to children across India and Bangladesh through the Qatar Creating Vision initiative – a million more than the original target.
Qatar Creating Vision, funded by QFFD and led by international blindness prevention charity Orbis, is an eye health initiative that works to reduce childhood blindness in India and Bangladesh, with the first phase of programmes due to finish this year. With this latest news, the initiative has stormed past all of its goals ahead of schedule, helping hundreds of thousands to see clearly again.
Through the establishment of a far-reaching school eye screening programme, Orbis and their partners have been able to find children struggling with their sight, thanks to QFFD’s support. Qatar Creating Vision projects have also focused on developing skills within communities to help drive people to eye care services. As a result, over 80,000 teachers, students, religious leaders etc… have been trained on how to spot the first signs of vision loss since work began in 2016.
India and Bangladesh have some of the highest childhood blindness numbers in the world. Accessing treatment can be very expensive or maybe too far away to reach. With 80% of a child’s learning processed through their vision, a lack of sight can mean a lack of education and missed opportunities. Promisingly, there is much that can be done – half of childhood blindness is preventable or treatable which means that vast numbers of children are suffering unnecessarily.
In 2018, thanks to QFFD, Orbis expanded Qatar Creating Vision to provide services to children and adults struggling with sight loss within the Rohingya and local host community in South East Bangladesh. Demand for services has been extremely high. In the first three months of this year alone, of the 22,000 who were screened for eye conditions, almost half required some form of treatment including surgery, glasses or antibiotics.
His Excellency, Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General of QFFD commented: “Despite the difficult circumstances we all face in this troubling time due to coronavirus, the Qatar Fund for Development continues to support humanitarian causes around the world both related to the outbreak and other areas of need.
“We’re delighted that we have been able to support Qatar Creating Vision initiative reach even more people than originally planned and with a few more months of the initiative to go with our strategic implementing partner Orbis, even more can be achieved thanks to the charity’s hard work. Sometimes a simple pair of glasses or a short operation is all it takes to help a child get the most out of their education, or enable an adult to support their family. The Qatar Creating Vision initiative has provided opportunities for people to seek the treatment they deserve.”
Rebecca Cronin, CEO of Orbis UK commented: “Orbis is proud of our partnership with the Qatar Fund for Development. Their commitment to providing the necessary funding to deliver eye care to those in need, has helped us to reach millions of children, finding those with vision loss before their sight is affected forever. Our expansion into the camps in South East Bangladesh has resulted in services being offered to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Many have never had access to eye care before. “As we adapt and find ways to continue to reach those with sight loss in this trying time, we thank the Qatar Fund for Development, whose support continues to help us bring services closer to home for those who need it most.”