Thanks to the valuable partnership with the Centre d’Éducation et de Développement intégré – Village de l’Espoir (CEDI-VE), IRIS Mundial established in 2013, a Program of Prevention and Fight against Blindness (PPFB) within their premises in Limbé, Haiti. For almost a decade, the center's employees have been reaching out to people in need to provide them with access to primary, secondary and tertiary[1] visual care, otherwise unavailable in the region. Residents can also obtain medication, sunglasses, reading and prescription glasses at a lower cost if needed.

Through the years, IRIS Mundial has collaborated with CEDI-VE to subsidize part of the care, equip the center with optometric instruments and high-quality ophthalmic equipment and provide glasses and training in optics optometry and management. The program has gained sustainability through the years and finally became autonomous towards the end of 2017. IRIS Mundial has subsequently remained available to offer occasional and ad hoc assistance to the partner as needed.

However, the onset of a socio-political crisis in the country in 2019, which is still present today, and the arrival of the pandemic and health restrictions the following year have considerably weakened the structure of the CEDI-VE and the program. Indeed, the offer of services was reduced to a minimum, the organization of mobile clinics in remote areas and schools had to be put on hold for an extended period. In addition, the erection of roadblocks due to instability and the presence of armed groups greatly complicated the movement of both staff and patients. Seeing how the current reality has affected the partner's visual care offer, and thanks to a grant from the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie of Quebec (MRIF), IRIS Mundial decided in 2021 to support an additional three-year phase for the Limbé PPFB.

During this new phase, IRIS Mundial will subsidize some logistical elements necessary for the proper functioning of the center's activities and the creation of a social fund to finance the care of those unable to pay the fees, even if they are at a lower cost. In addition, part of the funds allocated to the partner will be used to strengthen their organizational and management capacities, taking into account the new reality on the ground and the resulting challenges. For example, new technological equipment was sent to them by boat from Quebec to allow the organization of distance training thanks to our Quebec professional volunteers. In Haiti, these training sessions can be both fixed and theoretical in a conference room and mobile and practical in the vision clinic to perfect the use of specific instruments. In addition, the support will also allow us to optimize the clinic by making it electrically autonomous through the purchase of solar panels and by building a permanent roof of better quality.

Almost four months after the beginning of the phase, the team members in Haiti are very motivated to implement the activities. A second nurse has been hired to revitalize the service offered, and an agreement has been reached between the partner and a Haitian consultant to provide professional coaching to optimize the organizational management of the CEDI-VE. The situation has not yet allowed for the resumption of mobile clinics, but radio spots to raise awareness about visual hygiene are once again being broadcast. The construction of the new permanent roof is already finished, and the partner has just received the material from IRIS Mundial sent by boat. The shipment includes: optometric instruments, sunglasses and reading glasses, several additional accessories (cases, cleaners, etc.), and all the computer and electronic equipment needed to set up the videoconference structure. The new phase is well underway and remains encouraging for the years to come.

Thank you to all those who contribute in one way or another to support this project which is close to our hearts and who ensure its success year after year!

[1] Screenings, in-depth examinations, surgeries

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