Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) has launched a school health programme to treat eye diseases among school children in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a total budget of USD174,428 (QR 634,813), in partnership with the Islamic Call Organization and Al-Basar International Foundation.
During the eight-moth first phase of the programme, the medical team visited 60 schools in Dhaka and medically examined 18,404 students (41% of the total 44,895 students).
The results showed that 2,072 (11.26%) needed treatment. Consequently, 1,295 cases received refractive error checks, 261 cases were referred to hospital for treatment, 15 cases underwent eye surgeries, 525 cases received eyeglasses, and health education brochures were distributed to 114 teachers. The rate of students with eye problems is relatively high compared to the international figures, which affects sight among schoolchildren and reflects negatively on the academic achievement. These initial findings indicate the importance of addressing eye problems among Bangladesh children. Things will be clearer when all phases of medical survey are completed.
The action plan of the programme involved selecting the target primary schools, holding a training course for the medics of Al-Basar International Foundation who are responsible for the implementation of the programme, choosing a group of teachers to receive training in how to measure vision and detect eye abnormalities that require referral to a hospital, and holding a specialised course on data entry and statistical analysis using the SPSS software.
This health programme is the result of a cooperation agreement signed in November 2014 by Saleh bin Ali Al-Mohannadi, QRC Secretary-General, Mr. Hammad Abdulqadir, Director-General of the Islamic Call Organization, and Dr Adel Abdulaziz Al-Rashoud, Secretary-General of Al-Basar International Foundation.
The one-year agreement seeks to examine 200,000 students to discover and treat vision problems at specialist eye hospitals in Dhaka, offering comprehensive treatment, surgeries, medicines, eyeglasses, and other forms of international-standard medical care.
Also, the agreement involves providing health education for the beneficiary students, training the teachers in the ways to discover vision disorders early, training the project’s technicians, and developing a follow-up and evaluation system for future application.
Under the agreement, QRC and the Islamic Call Organization contribute $50,000 each, while Al-Basar International Foundation contributes $74,428 and undertakes the field implementation and securing of approvals from competent authorities, such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and charitable work regulatory bodies, in coordination with local partners such as Bangladesh Red Crescent.