Ms Chhay Kim Sotheavy, Director of Cambodia’s School Health Department, said it was the first time a mass screening of high school aged children on this scale has been possible.
“Many families are not in a position to monitor their children’s eye health – so this initiative I believe is very valuable to the communities of Phnom Penh on two levels.
“First, the children receive the eye care they need and secondly, (they receive) health education on how common eye conditions diminish… learning ability and chance of success,” she said.
The strategy focuses on providing education professionals with vision screening and eye health awareness training. Once trained, they work classroom by classroom within a target school, providing children with initial screening and referring those with potential vision problems to on-site eye care professionals, for a full examination and diagnosis.
To date, children from five schools have been screened and spectacles have been provided where necessary. To complement this program, eye screenings in the local communities have also been provided. Over the period of a year, 14,132 children from the five schools have been screened and 1,024 adults (mostly teachers) had their eyes screened either at the schools, or in the communities.