SIOC-CDT – making healthcare services more accessible to communities through the Re A Fola Project
The Re a Fola project focuses on eyecare – enabling both prevention and cure (when possible) – one mobile at a time.
Eyecare Awareness Month is commemorated from the 21st of September to the 18th of October. It’s a time set aside to raise awareness about the importance of eye health, specifically around preventing and treating avoidable blindness. Stats indicate that 75% per cent of all cases of blindness are avoidable either through prevention or treatment. This highlights the importance of getting your eyes tested at least once per year.
For some, it is not so easy to get their eyes tested. Access to optometrists and affordability of spectacles are the two main reasons why people who need corrective eyewear don’t seek help. Projects like Re a Fola are helping to restore vision within impoverished communities, one mobile at a time.
The Re a Fola Project
The Re a Fola project has been in operation since 2018. In 2020, they introduced one fully equipped mobile clinic. To date, the mobile clinic attends to an average of 1000 patients per month and there has been a significant uptake of services by the community. The mobile clinic provides eyecare services, Audiology, Oral Health, and Nursing services. During Eyecare Awareness Month the Re a Fola team will dedicate extra time to educating the communities they serve on the importance of taking care of their eye health.
Why is eyecare important?
Because of the two main reasons outlined above, many people wait too long to get help for their vision problems. These problems impact their quality of life and could put them at risk of blindness. Early treatment is critically important to prevent some common eye diseases from causing permanent vision loss or blindness.
What has been the impact?
Since Re a Fola’s inception, it has been doing tremendously well. In August alone they conducted 403 optometry screenings. And from July 2021 to August 2022, they have done 3322 optometry screenings. With 947 spectacles prescribed and issued. In addition to these impressive stats, the optometry team has been exceptional at detecting visual problems which might have deteriorated had they otherwise been left undetected. A great example is the screening of 246 cataract patients from July 2021 to August 2022. The cataract patients were referred to other SIOC-CDT comprehensive eye care projects for cataract operations.
Another remarkable story that came in from the project is one of a 26-year-old male patient. This patient had an extremely high intraocular pressure of 37mmHg in both eyes. Which is a measurement of the fluid pressure inside the eye. If it had been left undetected, it could have resulted in blindness. The patient was then referred to Dr Harry Surtie’s hospital for further management.
Poor vision can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, performance at school, productivity in the workplace, self-confidence, and safety. That is why projects like Re a Fola matter. Citizens shouldn’t be made to compromise on their eye health or vision due to a lack of access to optometry services. Mobility is crucial in helping projects like these reach the people who need it most.
Click here to read more about the amazing work SIOC-CDT is doing to make service delivery more accessible to remote communities using mobility.