Donating Japanese glasses to Malawi in collaboration with MEGANE TOP
OUI Inc., a Japanese medical startup from Keio University School of Medicine, donated 570 pairs of eyeglass frames and more than 1,500 lenses to Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach (BICO), an NGO in the Republic of Malawi, in cooperation with MEGANE TOP, one of the leading eye glasses companies in Japan.
OUI Inc. has developed the Smart Eye Camera (SEC), a smartphone attachment medical device enabling examinations of anterior segment of the eye and launched pilot projects to deliver eyecare to the patients suffering from eye diseases in the countries such as Vietnam, Mongolia, Nepal, Brazil, India, Zambia, Kenya and Malawi.
MEGANE TOP has been focusing on CSR activities and considering donating eyeglass frames that had become out of stock due to design changes, and eyeglass lenses that had become surplus stock due to store consolidations and closures.
In the Republic of Malawi in Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world, there are only 14 ophthalmologists out of approx 18 million population.
Dr. Khumbo Kalua is one of these only 14 ophthalmologists in Malawi, and he founded the Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach (BICO) to support rural residents in Malawi who are suffering from diffiuculty in access to eyecare. Dr. Kalua and BICO have been working with various institutions around the world to contribute to the development of eyecare and also education of ophthalmologists in Malawi.
OUI Inc. has been working with BICO since November 2019 to conduct pilot tests of SEC in rural clinics in Malawi, and invited Dr. Khumbo Kalua to Tokyo for a joint conference in February 2020. MEGANE TOP also participated in the conference and has been discussing with OUI Inc. about joint support for eyecare.
Based on the above, OUI Inc. and MEGANE TOP jointly donated eyeglass frames and lenses to BICO. The donated items arrived in the Republic of Malawi in April and May, and the local patients are very pleased with them.
Message from Dr. Khumbo Kalua:
“This donation of glasses has come at the right time when many elderly person are struggling to read ,as they cannot afford a pair of reading glasses. Additionally, some visual impaired children fail to access quality education , when their main cause of visual impairment is refractive error, which can be corrected by glasses. This donation will service both the elderly and the young visual Impaired. BICO will continue identifying and engaging potential stakeholders for more donations, so that this unnecessary burden can be relieved. On behalf of BICO, and all beneficiaries in Malawi, I would like to thank both OUI Inc. and MEGANETOP for this kind donation and I look forward to the continued collaboration”.
OUI Inc. will continue to work in collaboration with various partners all over the world to overcome world blindness.