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Mubende Comprehensive Eye Health project launched in Uganda

Published: 22.06.2017
Checking a patient for diabetic eye disease
Press Release – Mubende, Uganda, 21 June 2017:
The new four year Mubende Comprehensive Eye Health project, targeting all age groups within society has been officially launched. This follows shortly after the completion of a successful East Africa Child Eye Health programme which ran for the four years since 2012, under the Seeing is Believing initiative funded by Standard Chartered Bank.
The new programme aims to deliver comprehensive eye health comprising the full package; promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative eye health services in the Mubende Health Region. It targets both adults and children as beneficiaries in four underserved districts of the Mubende Health Region in Uganda, namely; Mubende, Mityana, Kiboga and Kyankwanzi. To ensure sustainability these eye care services will be be integrated into the existing national health systems within the districts.
The new programme in Mubende seeks to strengthen community eye health by providing essential equipment to support service delivery of eye health services, including refractive services and access to rehabilitation and low vision services.
Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute spoke positively on the new programme. “We recognise the importance of working together with existing health systems to build sustainable eye care systems in collaboration. Being part of the broader development agenda is a logical fit for public health eye care programmes and our global strategy is influenced by local and cultural understanding. With the new comprehensive services in Mubende we aim to address the community’s eye health needs for the long term through a broad strategy of increasing access and building capacity.”
Improvements includes equipping four hospitals to provide comprehensive eye care services benefitting 30,000 adults and 20,000 children.  In addition the program will provide the necessary equipment required by a surgical team to perform major and minor surgeries on adults, and minor surgeries on children. Major paediatric surgeries including cataract will be referred to Mulago Hospital, the National Referral Hospital.
It is anticipated that this intervention of equipment at the Regional hospital at Mubende will increase surgeries performed over the next four years to 14,200, by greatly supporting an increase to the current visiting ophthalmologists schedule. A low vision centre will be set up at Mubende Regional Refractive Hospital providing assistive and rehabilitation devices and strengthening established linkages to other health facilities and district hospitals.
There is an unequal distribution of eye care services worldwide and a systemic inattention by governments to recognise the importance of eye care. We are grateful to our funding partners Standard Chartered Bank and Optometry Giving Sight for joining together to address this gap in access to eye health services for everyone in Uganda.
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Photo courtesy: Terry Cooper for the #EyeCareForAll photo competition