Vision Bangladesh

Vision Bangladesh Project (VBP) is a joint venture of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) of Bangladesh, BRAC and Sightsavers to eliminate the cataract backlog from Sylhet division by 2013.


Elimination of avoidable blindness from Bangladesh by the year 2020.

Specific Goal

Elimination of the backlog of cataract blindness from Sylhet Division by the year 2013.


  • Increase demand for eye care services particularly for cataract in the community
  • Increase accessibility to quality eye care services especially cataract particularly for the poor
  • Develop efficient HR of service providing eye care facilities
  • Manage programme efficiently and effectively

This project is undertaken in close partnership with the government health sectors under the leadership of the Civil Surgeon. All BRAC staffs are trained in prevention of blindness at the intervention areas. The activities include dissemination of eye health message, patient detection, referral to eye care facilities and follow-up of the patients. BRAC staff mobilise the community people through different forums to attend patient screening programme (PSP) for eye care services. The community health workers are trained to identify suspected cataract patient and carry out the activities by visiting houses. They refer suspected patients to the PSP for screening. The diagnosed cataract patients are referred to specially selected eye hospitals. The operated patients are followed up at home. If any complications occur, respective eye care hospitals are immediately informed for appropriate management of the patients. Local government stakeholders are also involved in the programme.

Reading Glasses for Improved Livelihoods

In Bangladesh, about 20 percent people suffer from presbyopia which deprives them of contributing to household activities and in the national economy as well; and so it has become a major public health problem.

This project aims to combat presbyopia - a chronic eye problem, which results difficulty in near vision and reduces productivity of adults over the age of 35 years. It has been implemented in partnership between BRAC and VisionSpring which is a non-profit organisation based in the USA.

The mission of VisionSpring is to reduce poverty and generate opportunity in the developing world through the sale of affordable eyeglasses, and it is consistent with the mission of BRAC, which is to bring positive changes in the quality of life of people who are poor.

The activities on reading glasses have been incorporated in the normal work schedule of the Shasthya Shebika (SS). Before conducting vision screening in the community, the SS mobilises people who suffer from eye problems, using forums like village organisation (VO) meetings, group health education meetings, etc. For a broader coverage of the programme, camps are also held in different project areas. After testing the subject groups’ visions, the SS offers reading glasses of proper magnification to the presbyopic clients at affordable costs. Patients with other eye complaints are referred to district eye hospitals. The Shasthya Kormis and programme organisers support the SS in screening and referral. Upazila Manager and other supervisors provide periodic supervision and follow-up.

Vision Bangladesh Project: Phase II

The Vision Bangladesh Project (VBP) is a joint venture of National Eye Care-DGHS (under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW) of Bangladesh), and BRAC to eliminate the backlog of cataract sufferers from slums in the cities of Bangladesh by the year 2015. In addition, the project seeks to address the incidental cataract cases and to reach the unreached. The project will also work in the Sylhet Division until 2015.

Project Goal:

The elimination of avoidable blindness in Bangladesh by 2020.

Purpose of the Project:

To eliminate the backlog of cataract blindness in the slums of Bangladesh by 2015.

Project Objectives:

  1. To Increase knowledge and awareness of eye care services within slum communities.
  2. To build capacity for and institutionalise eye care within the Bangladesh healthcare system; thereby enabling access to quality, affordable treatment for disadvantaged people affected by cataract blindness.
  3. To strengthen the capacity of eye care facilities’ service through collaboration between the partners, in a manner that is suitable for Bangladesh’s social, cultural, and economic context.

Core Interventions:

  • Prepare action plan for patient screening programme (PSP) with hospital partners
  • Develop plan for community mobilisation activities
  • Orientation of staffs on primary eye care
  • Dissemination of eye health messages, patient detection, referral to eye care facilities and follow-up treatment
  • Follow-up of operated patients and referral of complicated cases to partner hospitals for appropriate treatment