On World Sight Day, Thursday 12th October, the Vision Aid Overseas’ Zambia team marched in the streets of Lusaka with other eye care NGOs to bring attention to eye health issues.


During the week of World Sight Day, Monday 9th – Thursday 12th October 2017, the team organised eye screening clinics and a march in the streets of the capital, Lusaka in celebration of World Sight Day.

Karen Edwards, Country Director of Vision Aid Overseas- Zambia said,

We carried out four clinics in Lusaka during the week. Two clinics were at a petrol station near a deprived area and the other two in a shopping mall also, next to a deprived area. In total, we managed to see 773 patients across the four days.

World Sight Day is the only international day of awareness and fundraising to focus global attention on blindness and visual impairment.

Ms Edwards continued,

Out of the 773 patients screened, 384 patients required glasses. Some of the patients received the glasses immediately and some had to wait for a few days for the glasses to be produced at our Vision Centre in Chainama. Through the screening, we also identified 49 patients with severe eye condition whom we referred to a nearby hospital for further treatment.

 

 

With the help of Specsavers and other partners, Vision Aid Overseas has been working to improve access to affordable eye care services and prescription glasses in Zambia since 2009. Since then, Vision Aid Overseas has screened over 115,000 patients in rural clinics for visual impairment and established:

  • An optometry technologist-training course at the Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka

  • Staffed Vision Centres in each of the 10 provinces across Zambia

  • A national eye care outreach programme to reach the more isolated communities, so that no one is left behind

Karen Edwards added,

Zambia marchOn World Sight Day, we marched with colleagues from the Ministry of Health, CBM, Orbis, Sightsavers, One Sight, Lions Aid Norway, Lions Clubs International and Operation Eyesight Universal to draw attention to eye health issues. The march was then followed by speeches from various stakeholders and the Permanent Secretary.

 

 

Vision Aid Overseas UK also celebrated World Sight Day 2017 by encouraging their supporters to make vision count by either donating towards the campaign online or by organising fundraising events.

Sarah Namusobya, Senior Fundraising Officer, Vision Aid Overseas said,

This year, over 40 practices across the UK registered to take part in our World Sight Day campaign and have so far collectively raised just over £3,000 with more donations still to come in.

Opticians took part in the global campaign by either donating per eye test carried out or per pair of glasses sold. Some organised a fundraising event and others sold Vision Aid Overseas’ World Sight Day raffle tickets to their patients with a chance to win a one-week holiday in Cornwall, a choice of Rayban or Maui Jim sunglasses or a Denbies wine tour.

Jeremy Topliss, Director of Mackereth Opticians in Halifax said,

We really believe in the work of Vision Aid Overseas which now incorporates Optometry Giving Sight UK, so it’s wonderful to be able to combine a fun day and fund raising. This year we raised over £600.

 

 

  

 

The new IAPB figures released on World Sight Day show an increase in the number of people worldwide suffering from visual impairment from 640 million to 1.1 billion. This increase is taking us into a new era of blindness and visual impairment, where existing efforts made by NGOs and other organisations are at serious risk of being overwhelmed. To find out more about how you can support the work of Vision Aid Overseas, please click here

 

Special thanks:

We would like to say a special thanks to Maui Jim, Denbies Wine Estate and our other supporters who donated prizes for our World Sight Day Raffle.