Specializing in eye well being as we construct again from COVID will deliver revenue, not loss | Blogs
An example of this is Sightsavers’ SHIP (School Health Integrated Programming) project, which was developed to demonstrate how schools can be an effective platform for integrated health interventions, including vision screening. For example, studies in Vietnam and Ghana showed that the cost of screening a child was around $ 1.50 and correcting refractive errors was $ 230. That’s $ 230 to change a life (and boost the economy!)
Education can be very visual, which means that children with visual impairment can be disadvantaged. However, research shows that correcting refractive errors with properly prescribed glasses has a greater impact on academic performance than any other health measure. In one example, a study in China found that providing free glasses resulted in higher math test scores, equivalent to half a semester of additional learning.
In our current reality, COVID-19 has exacerbated the health and education landscape. The situation is worsening as the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children – those living in poor or rural areas, girls, refugees and children with disabilities – to continue their education have been further reduced. Adequate access to distance learning solutions is still a dream in many communities, and its effects on visual impairment will continue to disrupt education for many.
The bottom line is that investing in strengthening the system to support the billions of people in need of eye care benefits individuals, societies and economies alike. There are already simple, inexpensive and inexpensive solutions. Enabling them would help make societies more productive, support progress toward universal health coverage, and help ensure that we don’t leave anyone behind.
To achieve this, we have to demonstrate the power and high impact of measures and innovations. We need to generate and use evidence and technology to ensure that the right services are being delivered in the most effective way to those in need. In this time of better rebuilding of our health and education systems, we want to commit ourselves to make this world visible to all – I’m sure we can all lift our glasses to do it.
Sumrana is Sightsavers’ leading global engineering manager for uncorrected refractive errors. She is currently seconded to WHO to support her work in this area.
This story was originally published by the Thompson Reuters Foundation.