Rohingya children in a refugee camp in Bangladesh wait to be screened

Providing eye care to Rohingya people in Bangladesh

Since February we've been screening and treating Rohingya people in South East Bangladesh. As the first eye care organisation to establish services within the camps, we've been working with local partners to deliver 2,763 treatments in just two months.

A young Rohingya boy has his eyes screened by an Orbis eye care worker

A young boy gets his eye screened by an Orbis eye care worker

Between February-April 2018, Orbis conducted nearly 5,000 screenings and 2,763 treatments, a treatment rate of more than 50%.

So far 159 cataract surgeries have been delivered – almost three times as many as expected. Most are severe cases as the majority of Rohingya people have never had access to eye care. Other treatment includes antibiotics for infection and the provision of glasses.

Rebecca Cronin

Chief Executive of Orbis UK

Our work in the camps has shown that an already vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tion are in need of more sup­port than we envis­aged. Low vision means they will be less able to look after them­selves and their depen­dents with flood­ing, cyclones and land­slides becom­ing real threats as mon­soon sea­son approach­es. Rel­a­tive­ly straight­for­ward inter­ven­tions such as surgery, antibi­otics and glass­es can trans­form the lives of Rohingya peo­ple, which will lead to greater inde­pen­dence and self-suf­fi­cien­cy with­in the harsh envi­ron­ment of a refugee camp.

This project is funded by The Qatar Fund for Development, who have supported our work Bangladesh since 2015. More recently they approached us with a request to develop a programme to help those struggling with vision loss within the relief camps and the local community.

We're also working closely with Cox’s Bazar Baitush Sharaf Hospital, NGOs, and the local government to provide as much assistance to the Rohingya population as possible. The screening center is located next to a food distribution point, to help with awareness of the service.

Rohingya people queue outside the Orbis screening centre in Bangladesh

Queues outside the Orbis screening center

Alongside the medical treatment programme, we are training 44 community leaders; Majhee, Imams, school teachers and social workers, to conduct basic eye tests, spot eye conditions and refer people to the screening center.

We are collaborating with local partners to provide eye screenings to children within designated 'safe places' where children are encouraged to learn and play.

A Rohingya elder discusses his eye problems with an Orbis staff member at a screening in Bangladesh

An elder discusses his eye problems with an Orbis staff member

We are also recording and capturing valuable data to help understand the people and the eye problems they are suffering from whilst continuing to screen and treat as many Rohingya as possible.

This will enable us, and our partners, to deliver better care to those in need.

Rebecca Cronin

Chief Executive of Orbis UK

Most of us are real­ly lucky to have ready access to eye care. The Rohingya peo­ple have expe­ri­enced ter­ri­ble suf­fer­ing and require exten­sive med­ical care, which has not been eas­i­ly acces­si­ble to them.
Close the modal
Sorry there was an error.
Try again