Visual impairment in developing countries
This initiative is not open to applications.
The consequences of poor and/or deteriorating eye sight can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, with children excluded from schools and denied the learning opportunities which could potentially lift them out of poverty, and parents often unable to feed their children because they cannot work.
Following a tender process, we awarded a grant of £366,000 to Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), a UK-based charity dedicated to fighting poverty by transforming access to eye care in developing countries, for a five year programme to increase access to eye care in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, one of the world’s least developed countries.
The programme will establish, and equip, Vision Centres at three government hospitals in Kenama, Koidu and Kailahan. Vision Centres offer walk-in eye examinations, affordable spectacles and referrals to further specialist eye care if appropriate (e.g. where eye disease is identified).
The grant will also allow VAO to establish a comprehensive outreach programme in the region, and particular efforts will be made to target: people in the poorest rural areas where access to healthcare is most limited; and women who, despite making up the majority of those with avoidable visual impairment, do not generally have equal access to healthcare.
During the five year life of the programme VAO will, in partnership with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, develop a sustainable primary healthcare service in the region, and will provide up to 130,000 eye tests and dramatically increase the availability of eye care services.
The charity already has considerable experience running Vision Centres, having previously set them up in five other African countries, and in India.
All funds for this proactive overseas initiative have now been committed and no further grants will be made in this area.
For more information about VAO, please visit their website.