A one Million United States Dollar project of Standard Chartered Bank, titled “Seeing is believing” is set to benefit more than 2.3Million visually impaired people in Sierra Leone for the next four years.
The opportunity, which stemmed from a partnership, will contribute to the reduction in avoidable blindness and vision impairment in Sierra Leone, through country wide provision of comprehensive eye care (CEC) services, In Bo, Freetown, Kenema and Makeni.
The four year project will be implemented in close partnership with the Ministry of Health &Sanitation through the National Eye Care Project (2012 -2016).
The partnership is being launched by Standard Chartered Bank, through its Seeing is Believing programme, in conjunction with Sightsavers International, Helen Keller International and Christopher Blinden Mission .
The investment will be used to fund projects aligned with the government’s national eye care plans and will aim to fill in the gaps in Sierra Leone’s existing eye care provision.
The programme will support National Eye Care Project (NECP) to strengthen health systems through improved human resources for eye health, including the training and deployment of required eye care professionals, develop and improve community participation in preventive eye health activities, particularly in underserved and marginalised communities and reduce vitamin A deficiency-associated blindness and mortality by ensuring high and sustained Vitamin A Supplementation (VAS) for over 424,000 children nation-wide.
A stream of the programme funded by the partnership will train 12 Ophthalmic Community Health Officer’s in N’jala University College and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS).
Out of the target population of 2.3Million people, 800,000 people will be examined. 528,000 will be females (116,160 pregnant or lactating females and 411,840 other females)
16,000 Free Cataract Surgeries, while refractive error screening for 200,000 people and distribution of glasses will be carried out at base clinics and school outreaches.
Mass drug administration with Mectizan© and Albendazole will also take place to a population of 2,258,000 people for the treatment of onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (LF)
The remaining 272,000 will be 48,144 under-five children eligible for free services and other beneficiary groups including the elderly .
In addition, a total of 424,000 children will receive vitamin A supplementation (VAS).
.Albert Saltson, Chief Executive Officer /Head of Consumer Banking, at Standard Chartered, said: “.the Launch of the Phase V of our “Seeing is Believing” Initiative which seeks to improve the overall eye health care in Sierra Leone, is dubbed “Comprehensive Eye Care in Sierra Leone.” This will provide country -wide eye care services over the four year project duration; specifically in Bo, Freetown, Kenema and Makeni.
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