News story

Health: New innovations to help visually impaired people

Today Sightsavers announced thirteen new programmes that will focus on innovative ways to improve health for people living in poor countries as part of a UK aid funded scheme.

Today Sightsavers announced thirteen new programmes that will focus on innovative ways to improve health for people living in poor countries as part of a programme supported by the British Government.

Lynne Featherstone, Minister for International Development at the UK Department for International Development, said:

This fund offers an excellent chance for charities, academic institutions and businesses to work together and find innovative solutions to health or disability problems.

I’m thrilled so many organisations are taking advantage of this opportunity and look forward to seeing the results - especially if they can be used later to address other health or disability challenges.

Open to NGOs, academic institutions, the private sector and disabled people’s organisations, a total of 477 proposals were received for innovative solutions to development challenges.

Innovative ways of tackling health issues

Some examples of the projects selected are:

  • A pilot project in Malawi aims to use radio and mobile phones to promote inclusive educational initiatives to increase acceptance of children with albinism in schools. The University of Coventry will also give workshops to provide professional training to specialists in visual impairment. 
  • The expansion of a web portal in India which disseminates information to visually impaired people. It will develop the Score Foundation’s Eyeway project from a radio show, multi-lingual helpdesks, an SMS service and website to include a nationally broadcast TV series.   
  • A controlled trial, managed by Helen Keller International in Bangladesh, to address the treatment of non-communicable disease diabetic retinopathy. The project will seek to improve general public knowledge of the condition and increase the numbers receiving treatment.     

Director of Policy and Strategic Programme Support for Sightsavers Dominic Haslam said:

This initiative encapsulates exactly what innovation means to me; working with others to find solutions to existing or new problems in the sectors where we work - and then putting those solutions into practice, testing them and sharing the results as widely as possible. 

We are hoping that the projects selected will provide a rapid boost to learning in our areas of interest. All results, positive and negative, will be shared as widely as possible within the development sector as well as using them to inform Sightsavers’ own programmes.

More information on the new programmes

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