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 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) 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 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’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’s vision app captures and maintains 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 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 Arusha region 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 Foundation for Preventive Health (FPH), a local Tanzanian non-profit focused on raising awareness about and improving vision and dental health. FPH helps with daily clinics, relations with local government entities and ensuring the team follows all cultural norms and customs. FPH has received the support of President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, which provided a letter of introduction to all local governments to work with and support FPH and its efforts.
SKYGEN International Foundation has continued to make a difference in the lives of Tanzanians long after the initial five-day event. As of July 2021, more than 178,000 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 Arusha region 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. The on-going daily clinics continue to inspire all members of the staff. Read up on the firsthand accounts from the trip to see what that experience was really like.
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.