What It’s About
Focused on addressing accessibility gaps, Tech Era creates technology; facilitates strategic partnerships; and designs sustainable intervention programmes to ensure vulnerable sectors in the African continent have access to products, services, and intervention programmes. It has been recognised for its initiatives for persons with disabilities and its provision of educational tools to schools and accessible products for households.
Based on a press statement, its collaboration with Plano aims to address the growing concern over eye health in Africa by creating sustainable myopia education and awareness initiatives targeting families, teachers, and other crucial stakeholders. They also intend to raise the uptake of Plano’s eye health solutions that reduces risk factors of myopia by encouraging the use of digital devices among African children.
Also as part of their partnership, Plano has made available its mobile app to mobile devices in Ghana.
Why It Matters
This year, Plano and Tech Era conducted a pilot study in Africa which revealed that 85% of children never had their eyes checked by a professional. They cited that the low uptake in eye examination among children as a “pressing issue” that might be one of the reasons causing the dearth of diagnoses of eye problems in the continent.
A 2016 study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that approximately one in six African children leaving secondary school has myopia.
Globally, myopia or shortsightedness is affecting about one in three or around 2.6 billion people with most cases reported in East and Southeast Asian countries. Their number is expected to grow to 5 billion by 2050. It was estimated that myopia is costing the global economy up to $244 billion in annual productivity loss.
The Larger Trend
Early last month, Plano announced that its mobile app has been added to the apps gallery of mobile gadgets and wearables brand of Chinese electronics giant Huawei. This comes as part of their partnership around myopia.
The Singaporean startup, a spinoff from the Singapore Eye Research Institute, also teamed up with US-based myopia education platform Review of Myopia Management to deliver the latest in education content for eye professionals worldwide.
In February, Plano entered into a strategic partnership with Thomson X, a unit of SGX-listed Thomson Medical Group, to offer its eye care solutions to pediatric patients of the hospital group.
On The Record
“Tech Era’s partnership with Plano is crucial to ensure that parents and children in Africa have access to the world’s leading science-based intervention that keeps children’s eyes and their mobile device use safe,” Tech Era CEO Derick Omari said.
“We are delighted to partner with Tech Era, with long-term plans already well underway to make Plano’s ecosystem accessible and relevant for families in Africa,” Mohamed Dirani, founding managing director of Plano, also commented.