Date: May 8, 2014
Project in Brief
Trincomalee District-wide School Children Vision Care Program
The Trincomalee district school children program was inaugurated by Dr. Asela Abeydeera – Vision 2020 Secretariat Coordinator, and Dr.Mahinda Herath, National Eye Surgeon at the Trincomalee General Hospital on the May 8, 2014 at the Trincomalee RDHS office. Present were the RDHS and officials from the RDHS and education zonal offices, and the SOMS team. This program was sponsored by Access Engineering PLC.
Following the kick-off meeting, Dr. Asela Abeydeera and Dr Jezza Ahamed assisted by a SOMS program officer, trained school teachers to screen students for vision impairment in the classrooms. This training was held in 5 locations in each education zone – Mutur, Kinniya, Kantale, Trincomalee (2 sessions).
We trained 467 teachers from 311 schools in the 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 had to be examined further by optometrists.
Simultaneously, the Trincomalee Education Zonal Office staff and Dr. T. Jayanthi, MO-NCD in the RDHS office, worked with the SOMS staff to cluster the 311 schools into several clinic stations in each education zone. Children from surrounding schools were brought daily to the clinic station by their teachers. The local MOH office staff and education zonal office staff assisted SOMS continuously.
The clinics started in the Mutur Education zone on the June 16, 2014 with 6 optometrists from the Eye Care Institute working diligently to examine the children and complete a comprehensive evaluation form. The screening continued for 19 days. In total, 5,683 children were tested by the optometrists and 1,210 eyeglasses were prescribed immediately. 433 students needed further evaluation at the Trincomalee Base Hospital. Others needing to start with convergence exercises were taught the exercises at the clinics.
The custom-made eyeglasses were distributed to the students starting on the July 14, 2014. Each child was also given a folder with a copy of their prescription and any referral notes. The folders will be kept at the school premises to be checked for follow up during the annual school medical inspection process.
We conducted phase II eye clinics in all 3 zones in October, 2014 to cover the students who missed participating in the initial clinics. With the help of 5 Eye Care Institute optometrists, we tested 876 students and 191 eyeglasses were prescribed. We conducted clinics in 3 centers during a 3 day period. The eyeglasses were distributed to the
students on January 20, 2015 by the SOMS staff and the Trincomalee district education zonal directors.