Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. This nation on the west coast of Africa has faced enormous difficulties over the last few years. The nation was involved in a protracted civil war which led to the deaths of thousands of its citizens. Just as the war was ending, the nation was struck with a severe outbreak of the Ebola virus. Thankfully, this epidemic has ended, and Liberia is moving towards recovery from its years of woe.
One organization that has remained on the field helping the citizens of Liberia throughout their times of crisis is Sightsavers. This organization works around the world to help prevent and treat avoidable causes of blindness in both the young and the old.
Recently, Imran Khan from this organization traveled to Liberia to assess the impact that the organization is having in helping people with their eyesight. One thing that Mr. Khan was pleased with was the way in which the government of Liberia was engaged in assisting Mr. Khan’s organization with its mission. The governing authorities in Liberia want to make sure that the young people in the country have the best health care that is available.
About 40 percent of the population of Liberia is under the age of 15. Liberia is like most countries around the world in the fact that about ten percent of school age children have trouble with their vision. When children have difficulty seeing, they have difficulty in learning their school lessons.
Sightsavers is working within the schools in Liberia to make a difference for children’s eyesight. The charity is training school teachers to screen their students for eyesight problems. If a student is identified as not being able to see properly, that student is referred to an eye specialist who can assess the eye health of the child and provide the necessary treatment protocol. In most instances, the child will need a pair of glasses so that the child can see better. Often, a simple pair of glasses can turn a child’s life around because it opens up a new world of learning that the child was missing out on.
The charity is working in other important areas in Liberia as well. Due to the poverty in the nation, it is difficult for people to afford the eye treatments and surgeries that they need. For this reason, the charity is helping to provide eye surgeries and treatments for thousands. In fact, over a five-year period, over 3,000 eye surgeries were provided in the southeast region of Liberia alone.
Sightsavers now wants to work with the government of Liberia to provide the infrastructure that is needed to expand the charity’s work into other regions of the country. With the charity and the government working together, more treatments and help will be available to those who live in more remote portions of Liberia.
The government of Liberia is proving to be a model as to how a nation can work with private charities to bring about health benefits to its citizens. If the current trends in Liberia continue, the eye health of the population will continue to improve.