Mobile Eye Clinic
Babatunde was a student of optometry, who occasionally volunteered his service at a local hospital in Ishor Community in Benin, Nigeria. There, he would often see the community members come to the hospital to get treated for eye diseases. He was shocked at the number of community members who were being diagnosed with preventable eye diseases at his hospital on a daily basis. Babatunde was moved to find a solution to this problem.
In 2019, Babatunde began his research and found out that according to the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment survey, 84% of blindness in the country can be prevented and cured. He had two questions he wanted to answer. The first was why the community was being infected with eye diseases that were avoidable, and the second was around the large number of community members who came to get treated at his hospital. His research into these questions revealed some disturbing facts. First, he realized that the community lacked basic information on eye care, hence the increasing rate of preventable eye diseases. Babatunde also noticed that community members were not only unable to afford eye care services, but also unable to access them since facilities were scarce, which explained why a lot of community members sought eye care services at the hospital where he volunteered. Babatunde thought about the poor, orphaned and disabled in the community and realized that should any of them suffer from an eye disease, they would have a really hard time accessing care facilities.
This is when Babatunde decided to introduce a mobile eye care service - first of its kind to the Ishor community. This service would make eye care affordable to the marginalized members of the community. He would also use this service to educate and spread awareness on how to prevent eye diseases. The service, being mobile, also meant that these members did not have to worry about how they would get to clinics where eye care services would be available to them. Instead, the eye care service would be brought to them.
Babatunde joined The Peace First Challenge to get his project off the ground. He received coaching and support from members of the Peace First team, got access to resources that helped him with building out his project plan and was awarded a mini grant of $250 to implement it. Babatunde collaborated with the local government, a local media organization, eye clinics, orphanages, school authorities, organizations for children with disabilities, community market associations, local NGOs and student bodies in Ishor community to implement his project and within three months, Babatunde and his team were able to provide comprehensive eye service through the mobile clinic to 200 marginalized members of the Ishor community.
Reflecting on the success of his project Babatunde noted how “the importance of collaboration cannot be overemphasized in bringing about social change in the community.” It takes a village to bring about social change, this is why Babatunde plans to continue seeking partnerships to expand this intervention to other inaccessible communities in Nigeria. He also plans on creating a digital platform where people can report about issues that affect their eyes and be connected to nearby primary eye care facilities to access free medical service.
Babatunde has since cofounded the R.E.T.I.N.A initiative, a youth led initiative that is committed to improving eye care in underserved communities. You can learn more about it here.