OneSight expands sustainable development program in The Gambia with eight
community-based vision centers and in-country optical manufacturing lab
Luxottica, Essilor, DHL and other industry leaders unite to provide services
and expertise to equip and empower Gambians with local infrastructure to
provide vision care access for entire country by 2015
BANJUL, Gambia, May 9, 2014
BANJUL, Gambia, May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- OneSight, an
independent nonprofit providing access to quality vision care and eyewear in
underserved communities worldwide, is expanding its sustainable development
work in The Gambia, a country in West Africa which previously had one
optometrist to serve a population of 1.8 million.
This week, OneSight staff and volunteers are working side-by-side with Gambian
partners to open an in-country, full surface optical manufacturing lab in
Banjul and a second community-based vision center in Bansang. The openings
build on the success of OneSight's sustainable vision center pilot location at
Farafenni Regional Hospital which has provided vision screenings, eye exams,
eyewear and medical referrals to more than 5,000 patients in the first year of
By 2015, OneSight will open eight community-based vision centers in The Gambia
supported by the in-country optical manufacturing lab. In cooperation with The
Gambia National Eye Health Program (part of the Ministry of Health and Social
Welfare), OneSight is providing initial charitable capital investment and
training to create a stable infrastructure for Gambians to provide ongoing
access to quality, affordable vision care and eyewear in their local
Research conducted by OneSight prior to the Farafenni pilot indicates that one
out of three Gambians has a vision problem that could be corrected with
glasses. However, only half are aware they have a problem and know a solution
is possible. For those who are aware, access to an eye exam and glasses is
extremely limited and cost prohibitive.
"Working together with our Gambian partners, we are on track to make vision
care accessible to the entire country by 2015," said Paul Case, OneSight Sr.
Manager. "While we continue to evolve the program based on learnings, we are
encouraged by the results to date and are confident we have a viable, scalable
According to Case, building local expertise and employment opportunities in
trusted locations are key program pillars. "All services including community
education, screenings, eye exams, refraction, optical retail and manufacturing
services are provided by Gambians who receive training from OneSight's
volunteer doctors and optical industry experts," he said.
As OneSight's founding global sponsor, Luxottica is providing corporate
funding, donated equipment and significant volunteer support. This year, more
than 70 Luxottica employees and doctors are applying their expertise to help
OneSight establish the vision centers, central manufacturing lab, supply chain
and train Gambian staff.
Industry partners are also contributing equipment, supplies and services.
Essilor donated initial lens stock to launch the manufacturing lab and
Transitions Optical is the official supplier of photochromic lenses. DHL
donated its international services to transport more than 50 pallets
(equivalent to full cargo plane) of equipment, fixtures and eyewear inventory.
Coburn Technologies, Elder-Jones Construction, Luxottica Optical
Manufacturing, Satisloh, Terry Adams, Inc. and Tom Rectenwald Construction are
also donating equipment and services to help launch the lab and vision
"This is a great example of industry and community partners coming together to
eradicate the global vision care crisis," said Jason Singh, OD, OneSight
Executive Director. "Together we are creating solutions that will benefit the
people of The Gambia while creating systems to replicate this model in more
Media Contact:Julie Maslov, 513-426-4908
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