Every district now has eye care infrastructure – officials | The new times
Every district in Rwanda now has an eye care center, thanks to the completion of 45 eye care centers in every hospital in the country.
Each hospital’s eye care centers were built through a partnership between the Department of Health and One Sight, a global non-profit organization dedicated to extending vision care to those without access. to these services.
The organization provides quality eye exams and eyeglasses to underserved populations around the world, where in 34 years it has served 7 million people in more than 50 countries and provided lifelong access to health care. seen by more than 46 million people.
In Rwanda, the organization works with the Ministry of Health to provide solutions for uncorrected refractive errors by establishing sustainable eye care programs at referral, provincial and district hospitals across Rwanda.
Late last week, the organization recently announced that all districts now have eye care center infrastructure, with 45 facilities set up so far, and nearly 500,000 Rwandans have been supported since OneSight began operations in Rwanda in 2015.
The partnership aims to provide solutions to uncorrected refractive errors by establishing a sustainable vision care program at referral, provincial and district hospitals across Rwanda.
The program includes infrastructure improvements, donation and installation of new refraction and dispensing equipment, training of existing and new staff, and a complete glass dispensing unit with a sustainable supply chain including logistics and a manufacturing laboratory in the country.
According to Tharcisse Mpunga, the Minister of State for Primary Health Care, the government is also trying to bring eye care services to lower level health facilities like health posts.
“We have managed to bring eye care materials to health posts in some parts of our country, starting from the north where they are now able to treat eyes at such a level. We are now inviting partners to work with so we can expand this program to more parts of the country,” he said.
Mpunga noted that currently one of the problems is that the community-based health insurance (CBHI/Mituelle de Santé) does not cover the cost of glasses, but promised that this would soon be resolved.
“There is currently a program being developed, aimed at modifying the operations of CBHI so that it can include more services, for example eye care services,” he said.
He also pointed out that Rwanda still lacks health professionals, especially eye care specialists like ophthalmologists and clinicians.
Katherine Overbey, president and executive director of One Sight, told the media that her organization had recently held talks with the Ministry of Health, looking for ways to continue to build capacity in Rwanda so that there are more ophthalmic clinical officers (OCO) among other qualified professionals. doctors “who can continue to fill this gap”.
Worldwide, at least 1 billion people have near or far vision impairment that could have been prevented or has not yet been treated.
Reduced or absent sight, if not given timely attention and care, can have major and lasting effects on all aspects of life, including daily personal activities, community interaction, school and work opportunities, the ability to access public services and general services. health.
Declining vision can be caused by a number of factors, including systemic diseases such as diabetes, eye trauma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and infectious diseases of the cornea, and trachoma.
The majority of people with visual impairments are over 50; however, vision loss can affect people of all ages. Blindness and visual impairment have a more serious impact on the lives of people in low- and middle-income settings where accessibility to most essential services and specific government-supported aids may be lacking.