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Yunnan Provincial School Eye Health Project Launched Yunnan Provincial School Eye Health Project Launched

Yunnan Provincial School Eye Health Project Launched

Children's myopia is becoming a growing public health concern in China.
 
In Yunnan Province, The Fred Hollows Foundation has launched a three-and-a-half year program to reduce the number of children with refractive error and other common childhood diseases.
 
The program, which will benefit more than 200,000 students, will train 12 ophthalmologists and optometrists, medical staff, community health workers and about 3,000 school teachers.
 
Programs to raise awareness on refractive errors among local community will also be included.
 
Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, the Yunnan Provincial School Eye Healthcare Project was launched in Pu'er City, Honghe Han prefecture, and Zhenxiong, Huize, Xundian Hui and Luliang.
 
To deliver quality eye healthcare services for children, The Fred Hollows Foundation works with hospital partners to improve screening, referral and diagnosis procedures.
 
To combat myopia, The Foundation also works to increase children’s knowledge of refractive errors and encourages students to use glasses and participate in more outdoor activities.  
 
According to a report issued earlier this year by The National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, the overall myopia rate of children and adolescents nationwide is as high as 53.36% with a proportional increase with age.
 
President Xi Jinping has also expressed concern about myopia with the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with The National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China and eight other departments, launching a strategy to prevent and control the rate of myopia among adolescents.
 
The Education Department of Yunnan has also issued the “Implementation Plan for Prevention and Control of Myopia for Children and Adolescents in Yunnan Province (Consultation Draft)”.
 
Refractive errors include hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism. When parallel rays pass through the refractive action of the eye, those with refractive errors are unable to form a clear image on the retina, instead, images fall in front of or behind the retina. A number of studies have pointed out that those who participate in outdoor activities 2 hours per day can effectively control the occurrence and development of myopia.
 
The Fred Hollows Foundation China Country Manager Amanda Huang thanked Johnson & Johnson and the Australian government for its support.
 
"Myopia or visual impairments can affect students' academic performance, personal development and quality of life. Parents should pay attention to children’s myopia and encourage them to join outdoor activities for at least 40 minutes a day. Reducing the burden of extracurricular work for students' will also ease the worsening problem of myopia."
 
Yunnan Second People’s Hospital Department of Ophthalmology Director He Zhulin said: "Myopia tends to develop at an early age at a very high rate. It is highly related to the future of the country and the nation, and should be looked into carefully. Joint actions from different government departments are needed to protect the eyes of our children and give them a bright future."
 
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (China) General Manager Jin Xiqing said: "We believe that vision is the most precious organ of human beings. It is very important for visually impaired patients to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible at the early stages of illness. Therefore, we are very happy to work with The Fred Hollows Foundation, through early intervention and improvement of eye healthcare services, to prevent visual impairment caused by myopia, so that children can see more clearly."
 
The project aims to achieve the following goals:
  1. 72,000 children to receive free eye healthcare education, and free myopia and other common eye screening each year.
  2. Eye healthcare education training for schools, and training for 1,200 school doctors, health teachers and classroom teachers in at least 60 schools;
  3. Distribution of  2,500-4,000 school eye healthcare education student books, 8,000-20,000 eye healthcare brochures and 2 eye charts for each school, three eye healthcare education classes for students in grades 3 to 6 per semester.
  4. Each year, approximately 72,000 student parents will be provided with eye healthcare education programs. Focusing on prevention and treatment of myopia, it includes the promotion of reducing the burden of extracurricular activities on children and encouraging more outdoor activities.
  5. A total of 6 ophthalmologists will be trained and provided with paediatric eye disease training and further professional optometrist training. 
  6. A total of 1,800 community health workers from six project sites will be trained and provided with primary eye healthcare-related knowledge, skills and tools to provide quality services to children in the project community.