In 2013, the “National Eye Health Education Program” launched an initiative to promote and stimulate awareness about general eye care by providing information and education. The program is also aimed at increasing the capacity of hospitals and setting up a training facility for eye care professionals in thirteen different eye hospitals.
Different channels of communication are used to increase eye care awareness. Radio programs are being broadcasted nationwide. The radio programs cover information about common eye diseases and their symptoms. Additionally, the audience is being informed about the importance of treatment for eye diseases and they are told where to go for help. The radio programs are created in a way that everybody can follow them easily. There are also short TV clips which provide information about cataracts and glaucoma, the two most common eye diseases.
Many people in Nepal have cell phones, therefore sending text messages is an effective way to inform people about eye care. People receive a short message in which the importance of eye care is being stressed. The SMS also informs about the nearest hospital and which telephone number to call.
In addition, information about eye care is given at schools, fairs and at local festivals / events.
Local professionals and volunteers are specially trained for these education and awareness activities.