The Ugandan government has helped launched an initiative to let older people undergo free eye examinations. They can be tested for eye disease as well as sight loss. The free examination is for those who are over the age of 65, and they can be treated for conditions like cataracts and trachhoma, if required.
Not only is the Ugandan government is playing a role in the initiative, but so are Sightsavers and development partners. The program that free examinations are part of is called the Expanding Social Protection Program. It targets the highest risk group of eye problems, which is those over 65-years-old.
The service is possible thanks to Sightsavers’ program called CATCH, as well as The Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Trust’s Trachoma Initiative. The Department of International Development is providing the initiative with funding.
Johnson Ngorok, the Uganda Country Director for Sightsavers, said this initiative provides a chance to reach those who are at risk for developing eye problems. He added that there have been thousands of 65 and overs who have had their lives changed as well as have accessed surgery.
The program has been running for over seven years, and Irish aid and UKAID has provided support to it ever since. The scheme has also received help from the Gender/Labour & Social Development department. The goal of the scheme is to provide a social pension to those who meet the age requirement (65+).
Stephen Kasaija, who is the head of the ESP program, said that people suffer with various types of disabilities that don’t allow them to gain access to the full benefits of the senior citizens grant as well as other programs. He went on to say they are targeting those who are at the most risk of these disabilities’ effects.
Dr. Astrid Bonfield, who is the CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said that programs like CATCH allow them to provide quality eye care to people. The doctor went on to say that one day diseases that cause unnecessary blindness could be a thing of the past.