This is encouraging news in the field of eye health coming out of Rwanda. A recent article published by The Guardian announced that Rwanda is officially the first low-income country to offer eye care for its entire population of 12 million people. Through a partnership with Vision for a Nation (VFAN), the government of Rwanda is able to rely on more than 3,000 trained nurses in more than 500 health centers to treat its entire population.
What is particularly significant about the eye health outreach efforts undertaken by the government of Rwanda is that the eye care nurses are able to travel to more than 15,000 villages around the country. This means that poor people who might be bedridden and unable to travel can still be seen by a healthcare professional without additional cost to them. In a country with more than 34 percent of the population affected by some sort of eye health concern, this is a major step in the right direction toward addressing global eye health issues. One of the most pressing eye health concerns in Rwanda is short-sightedness.
Although vision problems in Rwanda can significantly hold back people from achieving their full economic potential, it is estimated that more than 80 percent of the vision ailments plaguing the current population of Rwanda are preventable. The ability of children to receive preventative eye care will be transformational in terms of them being able to focus and learn in school. This will also significantly reduce the cost of treating any vision problems that arise down the road. The VFAN is looking to branch out into Ghana next to implement the same type of universal access to eye care health. The project in Rwanda is still underway, but there are already signs of measurable progress and great takeaways for the next expansion.