School Screening and Treatment for Refractive Errors

December 15, 2021

by Alyssa Prohofsky, Lily Nguyen, Shubhi Sharma, Leila Abebe, Rebecca Thomas, Shea Mathews

Calla Lily Consulting is a group of BUSPH students in GH743 who worked as consultants for WEEMA International (WEEMA) to assist in the expansion of their Refractive Error Project pilot program. WEEMA is a non-profit organization that partners with rural communities in southwestern Ethiopia to improve access to clean water, education, economic opportunity, and healthcare, all driven by local leaders and collaboration.

The Refractive Error Project is a school-based screening and treatment program to address forms of preventable blindness which affects about 1.6% of the Ethiopian population. The project goal is to diagnose and treat these diseases while reducing the stigma associated with wearing eyeglasses.

In collaboration with WEEMA, our team created materials and tools to assist with the expansion of their pilot project from 4 schools to all 41 primary and middle schools in the Tembaro Woreda. We created materials to hire a field-based Program Officer, standardized a vision screening protocol, made recommendations for improvements in their screening process, created a guide for implementation of quality improvement measures, proposed the use of a mobile application and created a user journey and mock-up of the recommended application, addressed supply chain needs, and created a budget for WEEMA to implement the expanded program over a two-year period.

Looking ahead, we hope that WEEMA is able to use our work to remove barriers to learning for school aged children by effectively scaling-up the program to provide quality vision services and decrease stigma.