Low vision is a common problem especially with people associated with albinism (WHO). It is because of these challenges that the CBC Health Services extended the Low Vision Services to Ngounso Baptist Health Center in the West Region of Cameroon which has restored hope to those living with low vision in that community.
The availability of the low vision services results from the expansion of the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Services in the West Region which has been able to carry out identification and referrals of persons with disability and those at risk of having disability for treatment and prevention. Four months after the expansion of CBR services in the Noun Division in the West Region, many cases of different types of disabilities have been identified, referred and rehabilitated.
Two of the many that have so far benefited from the CBR services in the Division are 9 year-old Nganfu Amass and his elder brother 12 year-old Mefire Abass with albinism. These two brothers have faced challenges in the past years as a result of their low vision especially in the school setting given that they could not have a good view of the black board and as such, had difficulties in reading and writing.
These brothers were stigmatized in school by peers which affected their self-esteem and also faced challenges walking around like other children because of the negative effects of the sun on them.
The situation of Amass and Abass got improved since they got in contact with CBR services. According to the CBR Field worker Mr. Jab Moses, “the kids were identified during field work and referred to the Low Vision Therapist Mr. Kenchi Joseph who consulted them and provided them with low vision devices of different types.
After receiving the devices the devices, I trained them on how to effectively use them both at home and in school,” added Moses.
Few months later, the Low Vision Therapist visited Amass and Abass in school and they testified that with the use of the devices, they can see well. “I can now have a better view of the board and copy notes directly from the board. I no longer copy notes from my classmates as I use to do in the past since I did not use to see clearly,” expressed the visibly satisfied kids.
The Head Teachers, Class 3 and 4 teachers in Bilingual Primary School and Ecole Publicque de Ngounso where the children school testify that Amass and Abass have greatly improved compared to how they were in the past.
During the visit of the Low vision therapist to the schools, he educated the pupils on the low vision devices so that they will not always want to seize them from Abass and Amass and play around with. He encouraged the teachers to always be patient with the pupils with albinism given that they will always take a longer time to view the board.
The CBC Health Services is working hard in collaboration with its funding partners Liliana Fonds through the EDID Program Ausaid and CBM to prevent and treat disability in Cameroon.