Last week, Huoqiu County of Anhui Province in China announced a collaboration with Essilor and Huoqiu Boai Hospital to eradicate poor vision from the county in three years. With a population of over 1.6 million, Huoqiu is the first county we have partnered with to execute its eradication plans.

Pilot program in Chalu Town

Earlier this year, we organized a pilot program for the county in Chalu Town, screening over 5,000 elderly people and school children. Those diagnosed with refraction errors or other eye problems were referred to Boai Hospital for further tests. Through the pilot, we discovered the severity of the situation – all the elderly people screened suffered from poor vision and 70% of them have not had their vision corrected. Nearly half of the school children screened had poor vision and of these, 72% have not had their vision corrected.

While the pilot program brought good vision to these people, improving their daily lives and their ability to learn, work and be safe, it is clear there is so much more to be done.

The journey ahead

That is why in the next three years, together with Boai Hospital, we will conduct vision screening for over 200,000 elderly people and school children across the county. Those who need glasses but cannot afford them will receive free pairs from Essilor Vision Foundation. We will also collaborate on training support for vision care providers and other philanthropic activities.

At the announcement ceremony held last week, Essilor Vision Foundation donated 17,000 pairs of glasses and 400 sets of reader refraction screening tools in aid of the eradication plan. These were received by the Red Cross Society in Anhui on behalf of the government.

It is an honor to partner with the Huoqiu government and Boai Hospital because we all believe that people can lead better lives with good vision. The Huoqiu government has already made outstanding efforts to better the lives of its people through education and health – we are excited to support them in doing more on this meaningful journey to eradicate poor vision.

When asked at the ceremony why we decided to partner with Huoqiu County and Boai Hospital, Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer responded, “It is an honor to partner with the Huoqiu government and Boai Hospital because we all believe that people can lead better lives with good vision. The Huoqiu government has already made outstanding efforts to better the lives of its people through education and health – we are excited to support them in doing more on this meaningful journey to eradicate poor vision.”