Nepalese Association of Optometrist is celebrating the March month by screening visual acuity of one lakh population. The one-month long campaign has been recognized by the Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal. Volunteers all over Nepal are screening visual acuity of people in community, school, college and so on. Recently this campaign was postponed due to COVID-19.
The inaugural of the campaign was conducted at Ministry of Health and Population by unbundling of visual acuity chart designed by the association. In the ceremony, visual acuity of health minister, Honorable Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and state health minister Nawaraj Rawat were screened by the ex-president, Sanjeeb Mishra and president Niraj Dev Joshi. Dipak Kumar Sah, the national coordinator for the campaign explained the rationale behind the month-long campaign in Nepal. He expressed that, this campaign will mark a conscious thought on the contribution of optometrist in eye health care of Nepal, in the policy makers and stakeholders.
Despite two-decade long optometry education in Nepal and huge number of graduates, optometrists are not placed into the government health system. NAO seeks to focus on placement of optometrists in government health system and strongly urges Nepal government for the same through this campaign.
March Vision Screening Month, as a mass campaign is being observed for the first time in world in the field of optometry. Besides the policy need, the campaign aims to rule out the status of visual acuity in the Nepalese population and aware them on the up surging myopia in the technological world. Optometrists, public health professionals, medical doctors and students are volunteering in this campaign who were all oriented and trained on the protocol of this campaign on end of February. All seven-provincial committee of Nepalese Association of Optometrists is coordinating with respective provincial government and local government for conducting the visual acuity screening camp locally.
Over 20,000 people have been benefitted from the campaign from all over Nepal. All the data are being stored and entered into the Excel for analysis. NAO plans to disseminate the finding among the stakeholders with policy and visual acuity status recommendations. NAO plead the world community for any kind of support for the campaign and also heartfully thank all volunteers, media, supporters and well wishers for all the success of the campaign.