Proposal for teacher education, vision screening and donation of free spectacles to school children in Galle District
A Joint Project by Vision 2020 – Sri Lanka, and Karuna Trust
Galle is one of the under privileged districts in the country due to the distance from the capital with limited resources and facilities for the public. It is predominantly a multi ethnic group district comprising of all Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people. Population of the district is around 1,063,000. There are 427 schools in the district. Total number of school children in Galle is approximately 218,100. Galle district is divided into four educational zones namely Galle, Ambalangoda, Elpitiya and Udugama and most of the schools are located outside the urban areas and have minimum facilities. Most of the school children in these remote villages and estate sectors are from under privileged families. It is estimated that, approximately 2.5% (approximately 5,400 in number) of the school children suffer from some kind of eye ailment; a proportion of them will need spectacles to correct their vision defects.
District General Hospital (Teaching) Karapitiya Galle, Base Hospitals in Balapitiya and Elpitiya provide tertiary and secondary level eye care to the people in the area. Consultant eye surgeons are attached to all three eye units. Doctors and ophthalmic technologists are the other supporting staff. Preventive health care service is based on the Regional Directorate of Health Services in Galle and decentralized its functions through MOH s PHI s and Midwives to the grass root level of the society. School medical inspections are carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Zonal Offices in all schools in the district where school children are examined to detect health problems including vision defects. Usual practice is to refer those who need eye care to the eye units, but tracking or follow up mechanism is not in practice. As a result, there are many dropouts in this referral process, and only a minority of the kids actually receives eye glasses.
Karuna Trust has partnered with Vision 2020 to ensure that 2,000 underprivileged school children in Galle district get eye glasses as prescribed. This program will be carried out under the direct supervision of Vision 2020 Sri Lanka, and therefore, we expect to make the process more efficient and simple.
Aims & Objectives
This project has been initiated by Vision 2020 (V2020) Sri Lanka with the following primary objectives:
· To screen all school children in Galle district within a period of one year to detect children with vision defects.
· To provide good quality, low cost spectacles free of charge, to at least 2000 children.
· To facilitate continued education of school children with vision related issues, ultimately improving their quality of life.
This program is also expected to setup a broader framework for a sustainable vision care program for school children, and hence, has the following secondary objectives:
· To raise awareness among parents & general public about the vision related problems and the need of spectacles for those who have such problems
· Carry out a research/survey to assess the gravity of the problem related issues
· To explore possibilities of a sustainable program to address the needs of target group
· To maintain a good follow up mechanism
Two years from the date of start, extendable depending on the progress.
Following is the proposed joint plan of action by Vision 2020 and Karuna Trust for this program.
1. Preliminary discussions with health and educational authorities in the district with the participation of Karuna Trust & V2020
2. Signing of a MOU between Karuna Trust and V2020
3. Meeting with RDHS, Eye Surgeon, education department supporting agency and Vision 2020 Program
4. Formulation of an operational plan, by V2020, RDHS, Eye Surgeon and Education Dept.
5. Training of representative teachers from all schools in the district to enable pre-screening
6. Performing school screening and detection of kids with vision defects
7. Organizing refraction sessions at local level/eye clinic to test/examine screened children
8. Receipt of the prescriptions by V2020 secretariat/Karuna Trust
9. Handing over of them to the manufacturer (selected by calling quotations)
10. Receipt of spectacles and payments to the manufacturer by Karuna Trust (or V2020, the mechanism to be finalized)
11. Distribution of spectacles to school children
12. Monitoring and evaluation of the program by V2020 secretariat and by the Karuna Trust
About Vision 2020
Vision 2020 Sri Lanka is the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Avoidable Blindness in Sri Lanka, headed by Dr Palitha Mahipala currently the Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry. This is a collaborative programme of the Ministry and the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka. Project Coordinator at Vision 2020:
Dr Asela Abeydeera,
Vision 2020 Secretariat,
Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition,
385, Deans Road, Colombo 10
Phone/Fax – 0112693744