A Local Initiatives for Education (LIFE) optometrist is training local technicians in eye-testing and in lens manufacturing with the aim of having an optometry facility in each of Djibouti’s six districts. Five districts are rural and have no facility at present and Djibouti city has no optician’s shop for public use.
Trainee technicians are being taught in a laboratory set up by LIFE worker, Kurt, in Djibouti city. They attend three modules in refraction and lens fabrication.
There is interest from Djibouti City’s two hospitals, which do have optical facilities, as well as the 15,000 population refugee camp and rural districts which have none. Creating optical facilities in each of the rural regions will reduce the burden for the city hospitals and prevent the people having to travel to the city.
Negotiations with the government are under way for us to share facilities, training and expertise within government units, as well as to supply competent technicians from the training course.
Imported glasses are too expensive for much of Djibouti’s population and we would welcome assistance with importing materials for these technicians to make eye glasses at subsidized prices suitable for the local population. Transport/import costs are considerable, even when we have donations of second-hand equipment or materials.