Name of the activity: Ethnic Minority Children Eye Care Project

Country/NMO: China (Hong Kong) (AMSAHK)

Program: Children Health & Rights

 

Type of the activity: Education

 

General description:

Our project extends the opportunity of education and eye screening to ethnic minority children, where tailored education and eye screening intersect to benefit ethnic minority children. The project includes two major components: first, educational outreach at primary schools and ethnic minority centers to increase children’s knowledge, and secondly, an eye screening to provide otherwise absent health services to draw children’s and parents’ attentions to potential problems.

Focus area:

Children & healthy habits (physical activity, healthy eating, hygiene, etc), Children’s rights, Children’s rights with emphasis on the right to health and access to healthcare services

Problem statement:

The prevalence of myopia is drastically increasing among Hong Kong children, with 80,000 cases in 15/16, a 10.5% increase since 14/15 [1]. Serious myopia is often coupled by conditions such as retinal holes, detachment, etc., which can lead to blindness [2].

Eye screenings flag visual problems, early detection of which allows more effective treatments [3]. The Hong Kong Eye Hospital conducts eye screenings, but only targets children of Chinese ethnicity, causing a discrepancy between the accessibilities to eye care by Chinese and minority children; our project aims to bridge this gap.

[1] Ng, K.C. Doctors raise the alarm at steep rise in myopia among Hong Kong children. South China Morning Post. 2016
[2] Heiting, Gary. Why Myopia Progression Is A Concern. All About Vision. 2017.
[3] Gudgel, Dan. Eye Screening for Children. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2014.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

1. Our main target is ethnic minority children aged 6 to 8, an age group especially vulnerable to myopia and its progression. Treatment to prevent myopia should start by the age 6 [1].

2. We aim to raise awareness of eye health within the parent community.

3. We hope to increase volunteers’ knowledge in ophthalmology, develop their outreach skills, and facilitate their growth through service.

4. We aim to benefit the communities of which the project targets are a part. Through encouraging participants to share their knowledge, we hope to create a rippling effect for positive health impacts.

[1] American Optometric Association. Myopia (Near-sightedness).

Objectives and indicators of success:

1. To help screening participants identify potential visual risks and know how to address them. (Indicator: some screening participants receive ophthalmic recommendations in response to flagged risks.)

2. To raise awareness of ophthalmic conditions and promote education regarding general health. (Indicator: to engage over 400 students in outreach sessions; increase in accuracy in survey results following, compared to before, the sessions.)

3. To increase parental understanding of their children’s eye and general health. (Indicator: 70% accuracy in survey results following educational pamphlets and videos.)

4. To help medical students better understand public health outreach and grow personally through serving others. (Indicator: to involve over 35 volunteers; qualitative feedback.)

Methodology:

The first half of the project focuses on implementing sessions, while the latter half emphasizes evaluation. The project is made up of two components.

First, we conducted educational outreach sessions at six ethnic minority schools and centers. Each session included:
1. Instinct for Reading Distance (proper posture),
2. Healthy Diet and Eye Health,
3. To Do or Not to Do? (facts and misconceptions),
4. Dress Up! (UV protection).

Secondly, we organized a one-day eye screening. Preceding the event, volunteers were trained by members of CUHK’s Department of OVS. The screening included:
1. Reception and Survey,
2. Snellen Chart, Autorefractor,
3. Colorblindness, Stereopsis,
4. Cover Test, Worth 4 Dot Test,
5. Counselor’s Station, where volunteers and ophthalmologists interpreted screening results and gave advice.

Plans for evaluation:

To evaluate the increase of awareness, we used a survey. Students filled in a questionnaire prior to outreach sessions, and again after. We compared the results to quantify the increase in knowledge. We also counted the number of participants.

Increase in parental awareness was measured similarly. During the screening, we distributed pamphlets on eye health. At the last station, parents were given a questionnaire. The results quantified the effectiveness of knowledge delivery.

To evaluate our effectiveness in flagging risks, we kept records of screening results, which reflect the degree to which we brought attention to potential problems.

Finally, regarding volunteers, we used both the quantitative number of students involved, and the qualitative feedback these students gave following the sessions.