Blog submitted by Rajan
Rajan is a staff nurse on the Flying Eye Hospital and has been part of the crew since March 2007.
During our Flying Eye Hospital program in Dalian, China, we were given the opportunity to conduct a rural outreach program with our partners from the He Eye Hospital. This is something that ORBIS regularly does and is organized by our communications manager, Perry Athanason.
Perry told us that this program’s outreach campaign was to help screen up to 400 children in a school outside of Dalian. I was very excited about this, as pediatric eye care was the major focus of the Flying Eye Hospital program. Our role was to help screen these children for refractive error, and to help record the data using forms provided by our host hospital (this was an ongoing project of our hosts and we dedicated our time to help them screen the children, and help raise the awareness of childhood blindness).
It was Saturday and the ORBIS team arrived at the school to find several hundred kids organized in several classrooms of the school. I was very surprised to find that the kids were not crying and screaming, as you might think when you gather hundreds of children – they were very well behaved and all very cute.
All the kids were told to stand in a line so we could check their visual acuity, which was followed by an examination with a direct ophthalmoscope (to check the back of the eye). I found the kids to be very cooperative and they each read the eye charts while smiling and having fun.
ORBIS also held a seminar for the parents of those children offering them some basic tips on preventable blindness in pediatrics and what to look for in their own kids that may signal that they are having problems with their eyes.
As we finished the screening day and were preparing to leave, it was a surprise for the ORBIS team to find all the children lined up in the play-yard waiting to sing us songs before we departed. For 15 minutes, the children performed songs and dances they had learned in school to show their appreciation for helping them and it was one of the most adorable things I have seen in my time with ORBIS.
It was a great experience to participate in this outreach program and all the kids were awesome, I was very happy to be a part in helping the parents, teachers and the children prevent blindness in their schools and community.
Photo by Rajan