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Reaching people in rural and isolated environments has long been a challenge for health and vision care providers. But innovative service delivery solutions such as mobile refraction vans can help to bridge the gap. Essilor Vision for Life has financed one such van in the Chinese rural county of Dayao.

In the Yunnan province, South-West China, 50% of the 48 million-strong population live in rural areas with no eye care infrastructure. Dayao, to the north of Yunnan, is primarily home to elderly people as local youth tend to migrate to the nearby cities to work. It is estimated that close to 90,000 inhabitants of Dayao have uncorrected refractive error and since Dayao is particularly difficult to access due to mountainous areas and bumpy roads, vision care services are virtually non-existent.

It is estimated that close to 90,000 inhabitants of Dayao have uncorrected refractive error

The Dayao Pingan Hospital, based in Dayao township, has decided it is time to act. Thanks to financing from Essilor’s Vision for Life fund*, the hospital has invested in equipping a mobile refraction van that will travel to remote areas to bring vision care to people’s doorstep.

“We have been operating a car that provides vision screening for a few years, but clearly this is not a suitable solution faced with such huge numbers requiring vision care,” explained Mr. Mao Changli,  Director of the Dayao Hospital. “Thanks to this mobile refraction van, we aim to screen 10,000 people a year. The van will also support village vision ambassadors who we will recruit and train at our new vision center, using  the 2.5 New Vision Generation training program.  The vision ambassadors will be able to carry out screenings, prescribe near addition needs and sell reading glasses and sunglasses.”

Essilor Vision for Life intends to track the mobile refraction van’s performance in order to evaluate this new service delivery model and, if successful, replicate this model with other eye hospital partners in China.

*About Vision For Life™
Created by Essilor in January 2015, the Vision For Life (Essilor Social Impact) fund aims to accelerate initiatives that combat the global challenge of poor vision by improving access to vision screening, correction and protection. Projects supported by Vision For Life include awareness-raising , advocacy, capacity-building and the creation of basic vision care infrastructure .