It was a token but significant gesture - spectacles being distributed among schoolchildren during the launch of the Urban Comprehensive Eye Care Project last Wednesday at the BMICH.
For the project launched by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva not only aims to strengthen eye care services within the urban poor communities in Colombo and Kandy districts but also to screen half a million schoolchildren in these areas for refractive error problems and provide free spectacles to needy children.
The project is part of the Standard Chartered Bank's Seeing Is Believing Phase IV Programme and the bank will contribute Rs. 50 million over a five-year period.
The overall goal of the Colombo Urban Comprehensive Eye Care (CEC) Project is to contribute towards reducing avoidable blindness in Sri Lanka, specifically targeting the growing problem of uncorrected refractive error. Sightsavers and their implementing partners will work towards achieving this goal by strengthening access to primary eye care services among poor urban communities and school eye health services. The Health Ministry's National Secretariat for Vision 2020 is the main implementing partner in collaboration with the College of Ophthalmologists in Sri Lanka
"We are immensely proud of Seeing is Believing. In five years, it has grown from a staff-originated fundraising initiative into a multi-million dollar private-public partnership with the world's leading eye care organizations," said Standard Chartered Bank CEO Clive Haswell.