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IMPROVING VISION CARE IN TANZANIA

SKYGEN International Foundation has been working since July 2018 in the Meru district of northern Tanzania to screen people and provide glasses to those who need them. Tanzanians have limited access to vision care due to very limited numbers of eye doctors.  In addition it is difficult for the mostly rural subsistence farmers to afford glasses or travel the long distances to reach an eye doctor.

VISION HEALTH CRISIS

There’s a health emergency today that nobody’s talking about: Nearly 2.5 billion people in the world need glasses. In Tanzania and other developing countries, a severe shortage of eye doctors and lack of healthcare technologies means millions of children can’t see the blackboard clearly. Adults struggling to see on the job risk limited productivity and even physical danger. The fact is, a pair of custom glasses has the power to transform a life and make every day richer.

CLEAR NEED IN TANZANIA

At SKYGEN International Foundation, our vision is to find cost effective ways to improve healthcare in underserved parts of the world by using emerging technologies. In Tanzania, we see that the need to improve delivery of efficient, cost-effective vision care is clear:

JULY 2018 CHARTER PROJECT

 

We partnered with Essilor Vision Foundation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church inTanzania (ELCT), and EyeNetra to bring cost-effective vision care to Tanzania. During the week of July 9, 2018, a team from SKYGEN International Foundation and Essilor visited clinics and hospitals in five Tanzanian communities. They tested attendees’ eyes and provided exact prescription eyeglasses each day for up to 80% of the people. For more difficult prescriptions, the SKYGEN Vision Portal sent orders to Essilor’s lab in Kenya to make custom eyeglasses.

We also trained ELCT’s local care teams to use EyeNetra’s mobile diagnostic equipment for vision testing. Through portable auto refractors, smartphone technology, SKYGEN USA’s eyeglass ordering portal and partner eyeglass laboratories throughout the world, and Essilor’s frames and lenses, residents of these communities received glasses custom-made to their specific prescription.

By helping Tanzanians see their world more clearly, we hope to enhance their quality of life.

BRIDGING EXISTING SOLUTIONS TO EXTEND REACH OF CARE

 

SKYGEN Foundation’s Tanzania initiative is built on technologies at the forefront of modern healthcare. The Foundation brings SKYGEN USA’s Enterprise System for vision to the project, enabling secure administration and collaboration on vision programs in real-time with efficiency, speed and reduced cost. In Tanzania, SKYGEN USA’s vision portal streamlined ordering and fulfillment of vision materials from Essilor’s lab in Kenya. It also captured patient eye test information for future use. Adaptica's Kaleidos portable vision screening technology, which improves refractometry and the efficient delivery of vision care even in remote locations, has greatly increased our efficiency and accuracy. Essilor’s Ready2Clip solution, enables on-the-spot custom glasses for most of our clients and their lab in Kenya allows us to rapidly address more complex vision needs. By bridging innovative healthcare technologies SKYGEN International Foundation extended the reach of vision care to underserved populations and continues to do so.

MAKING VISION CARE SUSTAINABLE

 

A primary goal of the SKYGEN International Foundation is to make improved healthcare sustainable. In Tanzania, local staff has been trained to use Adaptica's Kaleidos vision diagnostic equipment. Staff also learned the operational process such as issuing vision care ID cards and forwarding patient information to SKYGEN USA securely so the company can enter it into its Enterprise System vision platform. SKYGEN International Foundation is holding vision screening clinics at schools and community centers throughout the Meru district of Tanzania. The training has created new jobs where none previously existed while enabling the vision care program to become self-sustaining. 

We have also benefited from the partnership and support of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, which operates four clinics and one hospital being used for vision testing, coordinated logistics for initial trip, helps with local government entities and ensures the team follows all cultural norms and customs. Bishop Elias Kitoi is providing executive oversight on the ground in Tanzania, while his son, Emanuel Kitoi, is project coordinator.

SKYGEN International Foundation has continued to make a difference in the lives of Tanzanians long after the initial five-day event. As of May 1, 2019, more than 55,000 Tanzanians have gained access to improved vision care. SKYGEN Foundation’s local team is working towards providing vision care in all public and private schools at the primary and secondary levels in the Meru District as well as in numerous community centers.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

The trip to Tanzania was incredibly productive and eye-opening experience for the SKYGEN International Foundation and its partners. Read up on the firsthand accounts from the trip to see what that experience was really like.

Bringing vision to those in need…

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Bringing Vision To Those In Need - Part 2

Local Team Member Checking For Vision Issues

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Bringing Vision To Those In Need - Part 1

You Can Make a Difference

Your donation helps provide vision screenings and prescription eyeglasses for underserved parts of Tanzania and funds training of local teams needed to sustain these efforts.

 

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