Community Outreach | Orbis
Ethiopian woman receives eye exam.

Community Outreach

We want to make sure everyone has access to quality eye care, no matter where they live. This is why, as well as strengthening and equipping local hospitals, we work at a community level, training and educating people about eye health to ensure even the most remote areas receive the best possible treatment.

Rural populations face a number of challenges; in addition to the majority of health services being located in urban areas, there are very few qualified doctors and nurses on hand. People in rural communities often have to travel hundreds of miles using poor transport networks, and that's if they're lucky enough to have been diagnosed and referred in the first place.

We tackle this by training local people – from teachers to traditional healers – to spot the symptoms of eye conditions and refer patients to the nearest clinic. We even provide transportation for patients and their families to and from hospitals, so that they can access the care they need.

We work with partners to distribute vital antibiotics to treat and prevent serious eye conditions, such as Zithromax, the antibiotic which tackles trachoma, an excruciatingly painful and blinding disease.

But quality eye care isn’t just about treatment. We are committed to educating communities about eye health and work with local partners to communicate crucial information about hygiene and good eye care through radio broadcasts, film screenings and educational materials. We work with local schools to teach children about the importance of getting help, hoping to break some of the stigma associated with seeking help from hospitals.

We run School Eye Care Clubs in Ethiopia where students learn how to take good care of their eyes and what to do if their vision begins to deteriorate. In Zambia and South Africa, we have been working closely with traditional healers, often the first point of call for health advice, teaching them to recognise symptoms and how to refer patients. In India, we run a Vision Van that travels from school to school screening children and prescribing reading glasses.

The Singing Tree

The Singing Tree is a wonderful storybook put together by our colleagues in South Africa to help school children learn about the importance of seeking help if their vision is poor. In 2018, we distributed the illustrated storybook The Singing Tree in Amharic to 5,000 school eye health clubs and children in Ethiopia for free, to encourage educators, parents and children to seek help when they identify vision problems.

This is just one example of the new and innovative ways we can help fight blindness with your help.

Click on the thumbnails below to read more.

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