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International Women’s Day – meet our eye health heroes in Zimbabwe

Posted on: Monday, March 8th, 2021

Today is International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating the amazing impact female eye health heroes are having on preventing blindness in the world’s poorest places.

Latest figures, published in February, showed that 55% of people with vision loss are women and girls. In some countries, like the UK, this may be because women live longer and eye problems are more likely to develop with age. But another key factor globally is that too often, women’s health and wellbeing is still valued less than that of men, which means they are less likely to access sight-saving medical care.

Many women, men and children in poverty have no access to the most basic of eye health services. Zimbabwe is facing a crisis of avoidable blindness. Hundreds of thousands of people are living needlessly blind because sight-saving treatment is out of reach – and the situation has become even more desperate due to Coronavirus.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, with a huge backlog of cataract surgeries, a desperate shortage of trained eye health workers and hospitals lacking the equipment they need.

Meet two Eye Health Heroes who are working to change this!

Dr Ute Dibb, Eye Surgeon:

Lady looking at the camera next to optometry equipment

As an Ophthalmologist at our partner hospital, Norton Eye Unit, in Zimbabwe, Ute performs critical cataract surgeries and treatments to restore people’s sight.

“I chose eye care because it’s a discipline where you can achieve a lot with very little cost, time and equipment. You can really change someone’s life in a short amount of time, which I find extremely rewarding… In 10 minutes, to go from disability to independence, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Follow our Facebook page (open link in new tab) for more updates from Dr Ute Dibb, including an exclusive interview.

Deborah Tigere, CBM Country Director:

Women looking at the camera, in front of a tree.

Deborah leads our work saving sight and transforming lives across Zimbabwe. Through the generosity of CBM supporters – and match funding from the UK government – we hope to launch a major 3-year project in Zimbabwe, to give over 40,000 women, men and children with eye health problems access to good quality treatment and support.

“Your support will mean that families will be able to live more independently, children will be able to get an education when they are old enough to go to school, and that parents will be able to earn a living again.”

Find out and more and donate to our Light up Lives appeal here (open link in new tab).

Images: Top – Dr Ute Dibb performing cataract surgery at CBM’s partner Norton Eye Unit in Zimbabwe. Middle – Dr Ute Dibb in an examination room at Norton Eye Unit, Zimbabwe. Bottom – Deborah Tigere, CBM Country Director in Zimbabwe.