09 Feb, 2020
Morzina said “I was a house maid but due to eyesight problem, the housewife sacked me. I was gradually transforming into a neglectedRead more
In Bangladesh, eye care services are inaccessible to a large number of underprivileged people living in remote rural areas. MSS launched its Eye Care Project in 2014 to address this gap. Since its inception, MSS has been providing eye care services among the underprivileged in the rural areas and urban slums. Initially, the services of ECP-MSS were confined to urban areas inhibited by the underserved people. Considering rural peoples’ limited access to eye care services, ECP-MSS expanded its services geographically to bring eye care services with modern facilities directly to them. In order to advance the goals of the ECP, the following activities were undertaken during July 2014 – June 2020 period.
The eye camp is the most effective way to provide eye care services to a large number of underserved people at a pre-designated place. The day-long ECP eye camps provide various types of services at the camps. Underprivileged people can easily access the camp to screen their eyes and get a wide range of treatment at the camps including eye screening tests, correcting refractive errors, provide medicines for various eye conditions, identify cataract and other surgical cases and make referrals to specialized doctors for the treatment of complex eye problems. The underserved cataract patients are identified and taken to partner eye hospitals for surgery. Refractive errors are corrected by giving eye glasses free of cost. When medicines are not given, the patients are issued prescriptions. All ECP eye camp services are free as we cater to the underserved patients.
One Fifty one (151) eye camps were conducted during July 2014 – June 2020 in different districts of Bangladesh including Dhaka, Narayannganj, Tangail, Chandpur, Pabna, Natore, Rajshahi, Bogura, Chapainawabganj, Dinajpur, Nilphamari, Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, and Naogaon where a total of 71,843 patients were screened, 6,769 spectacles were distributed and 846 eye drops were given out. Seven thousand seven hundredninety (7,790) surgeries were successfully performed by the partner hospitals of ECP-MSS. Beneficiaries of these services included members of the MSS-WCP, their families as well as the underserved members of the public.
The SSTP is an important program component of ECP-MSS which was launched in October 2017 with the aim to provide eye care services to the underprivileged school students. The SSTP is designed to identify short sighted and visually impaired school going children and provide them eye screening services, spectacles, medicines, and referral services.
The program also raises awareness of the students and teachers on basic eye care. During October 2017- July 2020, a total of 38,313 underprivileged students of 122 schools were screened, 988 spectacles and 987 eye drops were distributed among them.SSTP expanded its services to remote, rural areas of the country.Two pediatric cataract patients were identified from Saidpur Upazila, Nilphamari under the SSTP program. The two cataract affected students were operated upon and their vision restored.
ISTP aims to provide comprehensive eye care services to the industrial workers, correct refractive errors, address other eye conditions so that they have healthy eyes leading to increased and quality production. The program was considered as an opportunity and blessing for the employees of the company, especially for the workers.
During July 2018 – June 2020 ISTP were conducted at six (6) factories of Northern Tosrifa Group (four factories), Laila Styles Ltd and Conforce Ltd. A total of 6,203 workers/staffs (Female: 3545 and Male: 2658) were screened under ISTP. Of the screened workers 1,626 were provided spectacles and 2,059 were prescribed medicines to cure their various eye related problems.
To make eye care services accessible at affordable price the industrial workers were granted concessional rates. Excess of income over expenditure from ISTP were spent to operate SSTP and enhance capacity of our partner hospitals.
Being concerned at the ever-increasing number of road accidents, ECP conducted a survey among 500 drivers of public transport vehicles to assess their eye health condition. The survey was carried out during 1-20 January 2019 in 8 bus and truck terminals in Dhaka City. In response to the survey findings, ECP-MSS decided to conduct eye camps under its HERS program, as a pilot project, to cater to the eye care needs of transport drivers in Dhaka City.
To promote safety on road through eye care services.
To provide quality eye care services to the door step.
To provide eye care services at affordable cost.
To eliminate curable blindness.
The four-day long screening program was conducted on 24-25 February 2019 at Tejgaon Truck Stand and 11-12 March 2019 at Sayedabad Bus Terminal where a total of 545 public transport workers were screened; 155 were prescribed spectacles and 291 were dispensed medicines. It was found that 68.24% drivers had refractive errors compared to 70.40% reported in the survey. Twenty four (24) cataract patients were identified of whom 11 were drivers. Out of this 24, only seven performed surgeries – of which only 3 were drivers. At these eye camps transport workers were provided eye care services including spectacles, medicines and cataract surgery at concessional rates.
Noyon Tori (NT) is a custom made mobile eye clinicco-funded by the Epyllion Foundation and Shafiuddin Ahmed Foundation, fitted with necessary eye testing equipment and examination bed for conducting eye screening in remote locations. In January 2019, NT was first introduced to service at Sayedabad bus terminal to conduct eye camp for the public transport workers. Earlier, NT made a test run at the HERS eye camp at Tejgaon Truck Terminal. In April 2019, NT went to Thakurgaon district, over 400 kilometers away from Dhaka, to conduct eye camps in collaboration with Shafiuddin Ahmed Foundation Eye Hospital in Thakurgaon. Nine eye camps were held at the Debipur Union of Thakurgaon district. Another eye camp was held at the request of Baridhara Diplomatic Enclave’s Baridhara Society to cater to the eye care needs of the Members of Lower Subordinate Staff (MLSS) where 167 patients were treated for various eye conditions.
NT programs generally included smaller version of public eye camps, SSTP and HERS (Healthy Eyes for Road Safety). From January 2019 to June 2020, total of 50 eye camps were conducted with NT. Among these, 26 were public eye camps and 26 were SSTPs. These Eye Camps and SSTPs were conducted in districts which are located between 335 to 528 kilometers away from Dhaka.
NT screened 11,241 underserved people (female – 5840 and male – 5401) where they received free eye care services. A total of 815 spectacles and 863 medicines were given out in those camps. From these 52 eye camps, 832 cataract patients were identified and 370 surgeries were performed at our partner hospitals.
In February 2020, for the first-time, after examining over 35,000 students’ pediatric cataract was identified in two students at two SSTPs conducted by NT.
ECP operates with the help of its partner hospitals as it doesn’t have its own hospital. The number of partner hospitals has increased to 21 in 2020, from 14 in 2017. Our partner hospitals are located in 12 districts spread over 21 Upazilas. The districts are: Thakurgaon, Sirajganj, Pabna, Natore, Rajshahi, Naogaon, Tangail, Manikganj, Narayanganj, Rajbari, Chandpur and Dhaka. These hospitals make a significant contribution by providing end-to-end service to the surgery patients by identifying them, and by transporting them to and from the hospital. The heavily discounted surgery rates offered to us include costs of transportation, hospitalization, pre-surgery tests, lens, surgery, and post-surgery follow-up care and medicines. These partner hospitals support our efforts to organize eye camps, provide eye care services through their eye specialists and eye testing equipment, and perform surgeries – all these they do at concessional rates.
The Eye Care Helpline was launched on 7 June 2020 aiming to make eye care services available to the people so that they can avoid hospital or clinic visits and stay safe from COVID-19 exposure. This program was commenced in conjunction with our partner hospitals located around the country. To inform the people about the Helpline providing eye care through phone or video calls were disseminated through our Facebook page, website, TV scroll, and news releases. Most importantly, the program was publicized through the Women’s Credit Program – MSS, a network involving over a million underserved people mainly from rural areas.
Services Provided: The Eye Care Helpline provided free consultation services through audio and video calls during 10 am to 5 pm from Sunday to Thursday.
Consultation with an eye doctor
Necessary treatment & advice
Referral services to our partner hospitals, if needed
Medicine Delivery (Dhaka city only; retail price+delivery charge TK 50/-)
Raising awareness on preventing COVID-19 infection.
During June – September 30, 2020, ECH provided services to a total of 512 patients (male – 265; female – 247). They were housewives (212), jobholders (94), Businessmen (76), Students (56) and farmers (21), teachers (6), drivers (4), children (18) and retired persons (25) came in smaller numbers. These patients came from 34 districts of the country with highest from Dhaka (198) followed by Rajshahi (92). Two hundred sixteen (287) patients were prescribed medicines and another 132 patients were referred to our partner hospitals for further examination and treatment.