Eyesight screening for school children
Eye on Extent, together for a better future.
Voluntary work might not be an option for busy people especially those working in the medical field or studying medicine. With all the busy schedule and long hours of work and study it might seem impossible to donate some time to help the people in dire need. However, voluntary work is not only about helping other people, it is also about helping ourselves become better people!
Voluntary work helps people who are in need. It is an essential part of community service. On the other hand, voluntary work also helps people performing it. It helps to reduce stress, to make new friends, to feel responsible in your community and to gain experience in that particular work field.
In times of the ongoing war in Syria, it is important to raise awareness about voluntary work and its role in helping the society and in helping the healthcare system.
This is why MED research team added this important project to its growing list and joined efforts with “Al Mada” NGO to help nearly 1300 children.
The Eye on Extent project aims to perform a screening “visual acuity” test for children aged 6 to 8 in three schools in a low socioeconomic part of Latakia, Syria. Children in these schools often come from low income families that might not have the proper knowledge or the financial ability to do regular sight examination for their children. On the other hand, these families might also not have the proper funds to treat these problems the right way.
This is why it was so important for MED team to participate, to try to help these children and to detect undiagnosed visual problems. Early age sight problems are usually treatable if diagnosed timely, but can become a true health burden if not addressed properly at the right time. This work is important for MED because visual problems might affect children’s performance in school and even their communication skills with their family, friends and society. This stresses that the consequences of these visual problems affect not only the health of the children, but also their educational and social future.
Al Mada NGO started this project motivated by their commitment to society. Al Mada is an organization that commits to solve problems that affect school age children (education, healthcare problems, school dropouts and more). In this project, Al Mada provided the funding and planning for the project, while MED team was thrilled to be the one implementing on the ground.
Dr. Miray Jamal, an experienced ophthalmologist, trained the volunteers before the beginning of the project. Later on, the team organized the examination process with her help.
The project consists of two phases. The first is a screening campaign, where we screened for visual problems. While, the second phase is actually where we will address these problems. The first phase started on 18/2/2018, and we reached its goal three weeks later. A strong team spirit and efficient organization helped us to achieve our goals in a timely manner.
We started by explaining the visual acuity test (Random E) for children in their classes, by treating the test as a game, and we were surprised how excited, how polite and how cooperative these children were.
We experience the smile on their faces when we handed them a small treat after finishing the exam, and that alone was satisfying to us.
We managed to finish all three schools in a short period. Seeing these children smile and knowing that we are helping them, have been an immense satisfaction. Overall, we managed to detect about 90 cases that need follow up exams at an ophthalmologist clinic. This will be addressed in the next phase of the project.
The next step of the project is going to address the problem that the first one has unveiled. The second step consists of taking these children for further examination by several volunteering doctors who will dedicate a part of their time treat these children. In this phase, MED will follow up with the consultations of all the children, will oversee the process, and will help with the examination.
We are truly excited about this project and about helping each child in the best way possible.
MED team believes that voluntary work and such small projects can really help both the volunteers and the society especially in such difficult times of war. We are thrilled to be a part of this project, and proud to be able to inspire some optimism in the hearts of the children and the society.