Empowering Communities Through Eye Care

Tasmia heads up a Women-Led Green Vision Centre in Bangladesh, providing vital eye care to her local community.

In Bangladesh, 27 million people currently live with vision loss. For people living in rural areas, eye care is extremely hard to access. To reach people living in the countryside, Orbis have set up a range of Women-Led Green Vision Centres. These aim to break down the barriers people, particularly women, face when trying to access eye care, such as finances and being unable to receive treatment from men.

26-year-old Tasmia is a Mid-level Ophthalmic Personnel and heads up the Haimchar Vision Centre in Chandpur, Bangladesh.

“Here, I bear the responsibility of eye screening and providing primary eye care. For patients requiring advanced consultation, we arrange tele-consultancy sessions with doctors at our base hospital and refer severe cases" she explains.

Tasmia has always been committed to supporting her local community, first working at the Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital before receiving training to enable her to head up a vision centre.

Orbis's training has been key in Tasmia's journey, providing her with the skills and expertise needed to carry out her role. “What I am now is all thanks to Orbis's training. Due to the training Orbis gave me, I can now head this vision centre and help the people of this area. I want to keep receiving training in different subjects and enhance my skills.”

Tasmia heads up the Haimchar Vision Centre in Bangladesh.

Saving Sight at Orbis’s Vision Centre

A typical day at the vision centre sees Tasmia supporting a steady stream of patients. “The vision centre is open six days a week and we serve roughly 18-20 patients every day. Cataracts, conjunctivitis and watery eyes are a few of the problems that our patients come with,” she explains.

A common eyesight condition that Tasmia supports with is children with cataracts. Brought to the vision centre by parents who are concerned that their children may never be able to study and live independently, Tasmia diagnoses these children and refers them to have cataract surgery.

After their chil­dren go through the surgery and see the world for the first time, the par­ents are often brought to tears and say it is because they vis­it­ed this vision cen­tre. See­ing them becom­ing so emo­tion­al and hap­py makes all the hard work I put in feel like it was the best thing I have ever done. The thought of me being able to help anoth­er per­son see this beau­ti­ful world makes me extreme­ly emo­tion­al and moti­vat­ed to keep on help­ing people.” 

Tasmia has even supported her nephew with his vision problems. “Once he came to me asking for a pair of glasses for no reason other than thinking they look cool! But I decided to test his eyes and discovered he had vision problems,” she explains with a smile. The improved eyesight means that he is now able to easily read the Quran when he studies at the Madrasa.

A Women-Led Eye Care Initiative

The vision centre has had a really positive impact on the local community. Before this vision centre was established in 2022, there was no way for people to access affordable eye care. The closest hospital is about 40 kilometres away, and most people are not financially able to travel there, let alone pay for treatment.

It is because of Orbis that peo­ple in these areas can get qual­i­ty treat­ment. That is why Orbis’s work is extreme­ly impor­tant, and more sup­port will enable Orbis to reach even more less for­tu­nate peo­ple and save more eyes.” 

Central to the vision centre’s success is its status as a woman-led initiative — an aspect Tasmia views as extremely important. “Women-led vision centres are important because people in these rural areas are not comfortable speaking openly with a man. But they can say everything in detail to a woman. These open discussions help provide the patients with proper treatment.”

Tasmia and her husband, Alamin.

Providing Eye Care During Ramadan

Tasmia’s faith is a key motivator for her. “My faith, Islam, teaches us to always help the ones in need with whatever we have. Because of my faith, I came into the medical profession so I could help people in need. Our faith is all about being a good human being and helping others as if they are family.” 

During Ramadan, Tasmia balances the celebrations alongside her role at the vision centre.

“In Ramadan, we have to wake up at midnight for Sehri, our morning meal. To balance Ramadan and my work, I go to bed earlier than usual and fully wake up before the time of Sehri. After we finish Sehri, I pray, read the Holy Quran, finish some chores and head out for work.” 

She also supports people in the community observing Ramadan, ensuring that everyone receives eye care.

Some patients are reluctant to use eyedrops during Ramadan, concerned that the eyedrops would end up in their mouth, breaking their fast. “Using eyedrops is essential for both examinations and treatment. So, we make them aware that eyedrops do not enter their mouths so that they do receive eyedrops without any worries during Ramadan.”

Save sight this Ramadan

Close the modal
Sorry there was an error.
Try again