Date: October 29, 2014
Project in Brief
Matale District-wide School Children Vision Care Program
The Matale district school children vision care program was inaugurated by Dr. Asela Abeydeera – Vision 2020 Secretariat Coordinator, Dr. Managala Gamage – V2020 Focal Point for CBL and PEC, Drs. A.W. Rajapaksha and Champa Arukgoda– National Eye Surgeons at Dambulla Eye Unit, on the October 29, 2014 at the Matale RDHS office. Present were officials from Vision2020/Ministry of Health, local officials from Matale district RDHS office and zonal education office, the SOMS team, and Eye Care Institute optometrists. Mr. Naresh Pradhan, Founder and Chairman of the Eye Care Institute and its optometrist network, who have been providing optometry services on all past SOMS V2020 school children projects assisted with the Matale district work as well. The project was sponsored by the World Health Organization.
Following the kick-off meeting, Dr.A.W. Rajapaksha and Dr. Champa Arukgoda, assisted by SOMS program officer, trained the school teachers to screen students for vision impairment in the classroom. This training was held in 4 locations in each education zone – Dabulla, Matale, Willgamuwa, and Naula.
We trained 227 teachers from 316 schools in the Matale district. After the training session the teachers went back to their schools and screened the students for refractive errors and sent in the shortlists of students who were detected to have vision impairment for further testing by the optometrists.
Simultaneously, the Matale Education Zonal Office staff and Dr.R.M.M. Rathnayake, MO-NCD Matale worked with the SOMS team to cluster the316 schools into several clinic stations in each education zone.
The SOMS team and Eye Care Institute optometrists started the clinics in Galewela zone on December 8, 2014. The 6 optometrists from the Eye Care Institutewere joined by 2 Ophthalmic Technologists from the Matale General Hospital. The clinics continued for 8 days through the 19th of December.
4,579 children were seen by the optometrists and 690 were prescribed eyeglasses immediately and several hundred were advised to begin with convergence exercises while others were referred to the eye unit to be evaluated by an eye surgeon for other conditions. The custom-made eyeglasses were distributed to the children along with an individual file folder containing a copy of their prescription and any referral notes. The folders are being kept at the school and will be reviewed for follow up care as part of the annual school medical inspection process.[/column]