Transforming Vision: Our Impact in Bangladesh

Eye Care Crisis in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, nearly 950,000 people are blind, and a staggering 27 million face vision loss. With only 1 ophthalmologist for every 144,000 people, the demand far outweighs the supply. This shortage severely limits access to essential eye care, particularly in rural areas. Globally Women and girls are disproportionately affected, constituting 55% of those with vision loss.

A Mother's Devotion: Rabeya’s Quest for Zobayer’s Vision

Zobayer, born prematurely at seven months and weighing less than one kilogram, he had Retinopathy of Prematurity. His mother, Rabeya, was filled with fear and uncertainty about his future.

“When I found out that my son had vision problems, I felt miserable,” Rabeya recalls. “What if he becomes blind, cannot study, and cannot live independently?” These worries weighed heavily on her heart.

Financial constraints and cultural barriers made it nearly impossible for Rabeya to seek treatment for Zobayer in Dhaka. Visiting male doctors was uncomfortable and often caused hesitation and delays in seeking care.

The opening of the Haimchar Vision Centre, funded by Orbis, was a game-changer. “The centre being run by women enabled me to visit it without a second thought,” Rabeya explains. “I did not feel any sort of hesitation or nervousness. Speaking to a woman made me extremely comfortable, which helped my son get proper treatment.”

Before Orbis established the Women-Led Vision Centre, the community lacked local eye care services. Residents had to travel significant distances to cities for treatment, which was financially and logistically unfeasible for many. “Without the vision centre, it would have been extremely difficult for us to get the proper treatment,” Rabeya remarks. “Not only us but everyone in our area would have suffered immensely.”

Today, Rabeya’s hopes for her son’s future are filled with optimism. Zobayer is on the path to recovery. “I hope his sight will be fully restored and live a normal life like other children,” she says.

Empowered Women, Restored Sight: the Impact of Women-Led Centres

Orbis UK’s Women-Led Green Vision Centres are revolutionising eye care in rural Bangladesh. These centres break down the barriers preventing women from receiving eye care while championing women's leadership in eye care. Primarily serving low-income patients, they provide essential eye screenings and primary eye care services to those who might otherwise lack access to affordable treatment.

Each Women-Led Green Vision Centre is headed by a skilled female mid-level ophthalmic professional, ensuring expert care with a personal touch. Since their launch, these centres have made a significant impact.

The Haimchar Vision Centre alone has treated 8,914 patients and facilitated surgeries for 397 individuals.

Tasmia’s Story: Championing Eye Care at the Women-Led Vision Centre

Tasmia, a 26-year-old Mid-level Ophthalmic Personnel, heads the Haimchar Vision Centre in Chandpur, Bangladesh. Her dedication and expertise are transforming lives in her community.

“Here, I bear the responsibility of eye screening and providing primary eye care. For patients requiring advanced consultation, we arrange tele-consultancy sessions with doctors at our base hospital and refer severe cases,” Tasmia explains.

Tasmia’s commitment to her community began at the Mazharul Haque BNSB Eye Hospital, where she first worked before receiving training from Orbis to lead a vision centre.

The impact of her work is profound. “After their children go through the surgery and see the world for the first time, the parents are often brought to tears and say it is because they visited this vision centre. Seeing them becoming so emotional and happy makes all the hard work I put in feel like it was the best thing I have ever done. The thought of me being able to help another person see this beautiful world makes me extremely emotional and motivated to keep on helping people.”

Before this vision centre was established in 2022, there was no way for people to access affordable eye care. The closest hospital is about 40 kilometres away, and many patients can’t afford travel, let alone pay for treatment. But the vision centre Tasmia runs provides free or affordable care, changing lives and fostering hope.

Transforming Lives Through Vision

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