Magrabi’s Screening for Eye Health in Schools

published: Wednesday, February 6th

The concept of school screening is about the early detection of children with high vulnerability to specific diseases or disabilities. Most public schools all over the world periodically screen large groups of students, ideally between kindergarten and the third grade to identify if any children may have a disability or chronic disease and not identified yet. This practice depends on the cooperation between schools, families, and Health NGOs. to find students with specific difficulties in learning, keeping up with their peers, or blending with their surroundings, without putting stress on the kids, and not to misunderstand symptoms or overlook risk factors, the procedure should be built around screening, referral, further examination, service provision and follow up. While the schools and families can play a vital role during the screening , referral and follow up phases, the examination and provision of service phases should be carried out through a health institute, Magrabi Foundation has decided to take this initiative in Egypt, to adhere with its vision and long-term strategy to establish a replicable public health-oriented model for equitable sustainable comprehensive eye health care. Our work revolves around assessing current situations, identifying the gaps and working out solutions that bridge them, leading to evidence-based interventions in the area of eye health, thus ensuring a wider, deeper impact on the communities that we serve. As we believe that good vision is key to a child’s physical development, success in school and overall well-being, we started the eye health screening project in the Egyptian schools by cooperating with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and many NGOs. to eliminate the preventable blindness and visual disability. By discovering the visual difficulties in the early ages, we can significantly minimize its risks, as the vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, and the input from both eyes is necessary for the brain’s vision centers to develop normally. If a young child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his or her vision may become limited in ways that cannot be corrected later in life. But if problems are detected early, it is usually possible to treat them effectively. Upon entering school, or whenever a problem is suspected, children’s eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment by a pediatrician, family doctor, ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthoptist or person trained in vision assessment of school-aged children, such as a school nurse. If an alignment problem or other eye health issues is suspected, the child should have a comprehensive exam by an ophthalmologist. Magrabi foundation commits to carry out the comprehensive eye examination for all the children who fail the vision screening or show any symptoms, that’s done through the outreach caravans in schools, while children in need for a thorough examination are directed to the nearest Magrabi’s Satellite Clinic. We work as a part of the global community committed to the Global Initiative vision 2020 which is “A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential.” The Global Initiative was set up to: “Intensify and accelerate prevention of blindness activities so as to achieve the goal of eliminating avoidable blindness by 2020.” The VISION 2020 Global Initiative has subsequently been complemented and built upon by a series of additional plans. In 2006, VISION 2020 stakeholders developed an action plan for the period 2006-11, which extended the remit to focus not only upon the elimination of avoidable blindness but to include visual impairment – particularly that caused by the uncorrected refractive errors.

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