Vision for a Nation (VFAN) has now helped over one million people to access eye care services across Rwanda. The award-winning UK charity has supported Rwanda’s Ministry of Health to successfully build an affordable nationwide eye care service that is locally available to all the nation’s 10.5 million people and is fully integrated into the public health system.
The service is provided at all of Rwanda’s 502 local health centres by certified nurses trained by VFAN to provide eye care since 2013. A nationwide outreach programme launched in 2015 is extending the service to 100% of Rwanda’s 15,000 villages to maximise awareness and address the huge backlog of need. Over 1.2m eye screenings, 560,000 medication prescriptions, 144,000 referrals for specialist treatment and 109,000 pairs of glasses have been provided to date.
Theophile – a textile worker reliant on her sight – is one of the 1+ million people helped by VFAN. She says: “Now that I have these glasses, I am not worried for my job anymore. The glasses help me in my job, and that way I am able to continue to provide for my family.”
Tom Rosewall, CEO of VFAN, comments: “Rwanda is the first emerging country in the world to provide all of its people with local access to affordable eye care. In only four years the service that we have helped build throughout the nation has served more than one million people – 10% of the population. With complete integration within Rwanda’s public health system, it will continue to help people long into the future. We are now working to take our ground-breaking approach to other countries around the world”.