Tech Era, an award-winning technology-based social enterprise, led by Derick Omari in Ghana, and Plano Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based health tech start-up, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to address the growing problem of myopia (short-sightedness) in Africa.
This partnership marks Plano’s first collaboration with a company in Africa and will leverage on the respective strengths of both parties to introduce Plano’s easy-to-use, innovative, and science-based technological solutions to children and families in Africa to keep them safe online and their eyes healthy, with a focus on myopia. The Plano application, which helps encourage behaviour that is protective for myopia, is now available on all smartphones and tablets in Ghana.
Speaking at the signing event, Professor Mohamed Dirani, Founder of Plano, expressed his optimism about the partnership, saying: “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,” he added.
Chief Executive Officer of Tech Era, Derick Omari, commenting on the partnership, emphasised the importance of the collaboration to African homes.
“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,” he revealed.
Myopia is one of the most common health problems in the world, affecting about 1 in 3 people (2.6 billion) in the world. The number of people with myopia is expected to increase to 5 billion by the year 2050 (half the world’s population). A growing prevalence of myopia has been reported in African children, with approximately 1 in 6 children leaving secondary school having myopia. However, results from a recent (2021) pilot study conducted by Plano in partnership with Tech Era found that an alarming 85 percent of children had never had their eyes checked by an eye health professional.
Tech Era’s impact has grown across the African continent through the establishment of strategic partnerships, globally recognized and award-winning initiatives for persons with disabilities in Africa, provision of educational products to schools, and accessible products for households in Africa. Tech Era’s vision is to remove accessibility gaps and it seeks to achieve a part of this through the partnership with Plano by ensuring that children and parents in Africa can have access to Plano’s products and services to help keep them safe online and their eyes healthy.
Through this partnership, Tech Era and Plano will continue to work together to address the growing public health concern of myopia on the African Continent by developing a sustainable model for myopia education and awareness initiatives that are tailored for families, teachers, and other important stakeholders in Africa and driving the uptake and engagement of Plano’s science-based technological solutions to mitigate the risk factors for myopia, with a focus on better managing the use of digital devices in children in Africa.
Plano is an award-winning Singapore-based healthtech start-up launched in late 2017. The key products in the company’s ecosystem include the Plano application, the online eye health booking system, planoEyecheck, and its global eye health education-based website. The science-based Plano application, already patented in Singapore and Japan, has been adopted by more than 500,000 parents. In less than 3 years, Plano is considered as a global leader in the fight against myopia, through its education and awareness, technological solutions, and research and AI capabilities.
Plano was developed with a clear purpose; to save sight and empower lives. With a culture of disruptive thinking grounded in real scientific research, Plano promotes the use of innovative technology to provide a solution to help mitigate the public health, societal and economic
issues posed by excessive device usage. Plano’s Founding Managing Director, Associate Professor Mohamed Dirani, has dedicated his life to the study and research of myopia, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School and an Honorary Principal Investigator at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).
About Tech Era
Tech Era exists to ensure that the world works for all. Through technology innovation, partnerships, training and advocacy, Tech Era provides access to life changing products, services and intervention programs that ensures that no one is left behind. Tech Era’s portfolio of products and partnerships have transformed the lives of many children, youth, and persons with disabilities across the continent.
This has earned the organization several global recognitions and awards including an award from HM Queen Elizabeth II for its work in Ghana and across the continent. Led by Derick Omari, one of 100 most influential young Africans and a multiple award-winning social entrepreneur, Tech Era is working to create access for all, especially children and persons with disabilities.