How radio is helping us save sight
Imagine you have a problem with your eyes. You’d probably go to the doctor, right? In developed countries, like the UK and Ireland, we find it easier to access health care than most. But in some of the world’s poorest places, getting help for your eyes isn’t as easy as picking up the phone and making a doctor’s appointment. The cost of transport alone makes accessing health care tough, so our outreach team uses radio announcements to spread eye care messages to rural communities.
In November 2015, Sightsavers’ Senior Media and PR Officer Sarah Filbey travelled with our Uganda outreach team to visit the child eye health programme Seeing Is Believing, funded by Standard Chartered Bank. Here, she talks about the importance of radio in reaching those living in some of Uganda’s most rural areas. Click on the play button below to listen.
13-year-old Reymond’s mum, Ansella recalls how listening to the radio helped save her son’s sight:
“It’s good to listen to the radio because the eye health messages are repeated throughout the day, so the message and the dates for screenings became very clear. If I hadn’t had the radio, I would have remained ignorant and my son would still be blind. My husband kept buying radios but four of them got broken by the children. He said ‘that’s it, I’m not buying any more!’ So I went and bought one myself.”
After the radio outreach…
Once the team have completed their week-long radio outreach, they start preparing for a week of screening. During this week, the eye health team can see up to a thousand people! They work tirelessly to ensure that nobody is turned away unseen, treating any minor eye conditions on the spot with medication provided by Sightsavers, and referring anyone with a more serious eye condition to other, more advanced medical facilities.
After the screening, both children and adults who have been diagnosed with trachoma or cataract are treated at Benedictine Eye Hospital. Sightsavers’ Project Co-ordinator Moses arranges what are often long journeys for families to the hospital and takes care of things during their stay.