Photos by Chihiro Tagata Fujii
In November our Vision Programme visited Arusha, delivering eye care and education to 232 patients in 3 days.
Each patient was provided with low vision screening; vision devices such as sunglasses and monocular telescopes; and education about low vision and albinism. Patients requiring additional correction or magnification were prescribed the necessary devices, including prescription glasses and handheld magnifiers. We prescribed 104 pairs of prescription glasses in total, and gave a number of children full transitional lenses. Many of these devices were provided through the generous support of our committed programme partner Essilor Vision For Life!
So far, the Vision Programme has screened, examined, and enrolled over 1300 people with albinism and distributed 3000 vision devices in total. Clinics have already reached 11 locations across 7 regions of Tanzania.
In a separate event, we trained 18 schoolteachers to join our expanding network of Vision Ambassadors. This training scheme develops teachers’ understanding of the specific needs of students with albinism and the vision devices that we prescribe; it also provides teachers with basic skills in optometry and monitoring and evaluation.
Our trainers demonstrated a low vision screening, which was very well received by the trainees. Through peer engagement and inclusive training practices, trainees were encouraged to share their existing knowledge, providing valuable insight into teachers’ experience of albinism in Tanzania. Our Ambassadors will liaise with the Standing Voice Team to monitor our beneficiaries’ progress and welfare in school. We also trained 3 Special Education Officers and 3 Tanzania Albinism Society members as Ambassadors across the Arusha region.
We were extremely grateful for local government support, which was provided by the Tanzanian Social Action Fund (TASAF) in Arusha through free venue space and allocation of government vehicles.