In low and middle-income countries, people who are blind are often excluded from community life, education and employment, and experience stigma and discrimination. Blindness can stop people working, sending them into a spiral of poverty, and affects parents' ability to provide for, and care for, their children.
Sight-saving treatments such as cataract surgery can transform people's lives, enabling them to earn a living and support their family, and ensuring children can go to school. As a result, households and communities are lifted out of poverty.
Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, Sightsavers eye health programmes in Mali, Mozambique and Nigeria support hundreds of people today, with nearly 500 cataract operations performed and 30,000 people screened for eye conditions between January and March 2019 in Mozambique alone. But there is still more the charity can do. There are still a disproportionate number of people across sub-Saharan Africa with treatable eye conditions.
This year, Sightsavers will build upon the impact of player funding provided in 2018, continuing with high-impact projects while also investing in new initiatives to improve eye health in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meet Mai Mai
Sightsavers train community eye health workers like Mai Mai who can carry out the initial eye screening in the community and then refer people for treatment. Mai Mai is able to travel to hospital with the patients identified and is often there for the moment their bandages are removed. He said, "To see people seeing their family again…The smile that they bring to me is an enormous joy."
When screening people, Mai Mai uses what Sightsavers call an 'E-chart' which is a chart of the letter 'E' facing in different directions (large 'E's at the top becoming smaller as you move down the chart). The charity uses this chart in areas where people may not read and write so all they ask them to do is to point in the direction that the 'E' is pointing. They can use this to assess their vision before doing the more precise eye tests at their eye care facility.
With the support of our players, Sightsavers can train more eye health workers like Mai Mai and support even more people to be screened and have transformative cataract operations.
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