According to World Health Organization’s 2017 Fact Sheet, an estimated 217 million people suffer from vision impairment, of which over 80% can be prevented or cured. With a majority of these numbers from low and middle income countries, a challenge remains: how can we reach every last person in need of eye health services? Recognising the need to address this, CBM’s Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) initiative guided by its principles of Inclusion, Integration and Comprehensiveness, has been leading the discussion to partner for solutions that are sustainable for scale and impact.
Enter Peek Vision – a social enterprise which has designed and developed smartphone-based solutions that address problems of accessibility for low resource eye health services, based on research and programmatic trials. Their tools are aimed at increasing efficiency, in that identification (screening) can be performed by non-specialists on a large number of people. Peek Acuity is a clinically validated smartphone app for visual acuity testing, which takes less than one minute per eye to test. Peek Capture incorporates the functionality of Peek Acuity with added features for data storage and analysis. This helps in tracking a patient’s journey from screening to treatment, which helps ‘close the loop’ and implement an end-to-end service delivery.
CBM’s IEH and Peek have formed a multi-year partnership to roll out Peek solutions starting with some of CBM’s core focus countries. This collaboration brings together expertise from both sides – CBM’s well-established, existing network of local partners in the countries combined with in-depth experience in programmatic delivery and implementation, and Peek’s technological expertise and innovative products. The objective is to improve accessibility, affordability and availability of eye health services, strengthening national health systems through collaboration with stakeholders including the government, and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals’ ‘leave no one behind’ principle. In the first phase of the project in 2018, Peek solutions will be assessed in Indonesia, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The programmes will be based on eye health screening in schools and communities, or on research to understand the prevalence of eye health problems, with the ultimate aim being scaling up to national level. To achieve this, CBM country offices and partners will be leading the delivery with support from CBM International and Peek.
It is an exciting partnership many ways, heralding new pathways for evidence-based solutions in eye health services. Peek will continue to refine their technology as new lessons are derived from each implementation, for a solution that fits within each country’s health system. The programme will be expanded to more CBM core focus countries in the coming years, paving the way for a sustainable solution for addressing visual impairment statistics worldwide.