In Zimbabwe, more than 60,000 people are blind due to cataracts, even though the condition can be treated with straightforward surgery to restore sight. The huge backlog of cataract surgeries is due to a major shortage of trained eye health staff, especially in rural areas, and equipment to identify and treat eye conditions, exacerbated by the economic crisis facing the country.
We’re supporting four eye units in 3 provinces of Zimbabwe, aiming to improve access to surgery for all, including those living in poor, rural areas and people with disabilities. Lack of awareness and difficulties travelling to the nearest eye health facility means that those most vulnerable are among the least likely to access treatment.
Our project is:
- Equipping district hospitals with medication, consumables and equipment such as operating microscopes, so most patients do not have to travel to a specialist hospital for treatment
- Strengthening the eye health workforce at the three hospitals through training community health workers and primary care nurses so that people with visual impairments are correctly referred and receive quality treatment
- Raising awareness and promoting inclusive eye health in communities, so that people know about eye health conditions and the treatment available – including the most marginalised who are often excluded from hearing health messages.