New Qatar Creating Vision Eye Health Programme Launches in Zambia
A new eye health programme dedicated to improving services for children, has been launched in Zambia thanks to funding from the Qatar Fund for Development. Under the Qatar Creating Vision initiative, implemented by international ophthalmic charity Orbis, the work will focus on delivering paediatric eye care in the Copperbelt region, which has a population of 2.5 million – 40 % of which is under the age of 15.
With close to half of the district living in rural areas, eye care can be difficult to access. With childhood vision loss, it’s vital that support is provided quickly before permanent damage can occur, or a child’s education is impacted.
Community engagement will play a significant role in this programme, to ensure those in hard-to-reach areas are educated on eye health and know where they and their children can access eye screenings and treatments.
Throughout the three-year programme, 750 government health workers, volunteer community eye health champions and teachers will be trained to identify, treat, or refer children with vision loss for further support. In addition, awareness raising activities will include educational film screenings and radio broadcasts, as well as dedicated focus groups, to help dispel misconceptions parents and communities may have around eye care and surgery and build confidence in the services on offer.
Alongside the focus on training and community engagement, the project aims to provide essential equipment for 40 eye care facilities, 85,000 screenings, and almost 1900 glasses and surgeries.
HE Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General of Qatar Fund for Development, stated: “It comes with great joy and pride to continue supporting the Qatar Creating Vision initiative with our strategic implementing partner Orbis. Here at QFFD, we are proud of how far Qatar Creating Vision has reached and of the broadening horizons this project unlocks for people needing eye care. This expansion onto Zambia renews QFFD’s continuous support in strengthening healthcare access for communities in need and QFFD’s plan to continue supporting partnerships that help elevate the burdens of affected communities.”
Rebecca Cronin, Orbis UK CEO said: “Approximately 60% of the population in Zambia lives below the poverty line. There is also a high prevalence of childhood blindness, and it’s important that those with vision loss have access to the quality and affordable services they deserve.
“Avoidable blindness can trap entire families in poverty. Money and distance to medical facilities can create huge barriers. Thanks to the Qatar Fund for Development, we can further develop and expand services to reach those most in need of assistance, and support our in-country partners to provide care before livelihoods and educations are impacted.”
Between 2016 and 2020 in India and Bangladesh, thanks to the Qatar Fund for Development’s vital support, Orbis and their strategic partners provided more than 6 million eye tests and treatments, mainly to children, through Qatar Creating Vision. The project in Zambia is the second activity of Phase Two of the initiative, which began in Ethiopia in April 2022. Over the course of the year, almost 40,000 eye screenings have been undertaken to identify blinding Trachoma and other conditions and as a result, over 2000 surgeries have taken place, alongside 1120 training opportunities for eye health professionals and community leaders/teachers.
- Geography Zambia
- Timeline 2023 - 2023
- SDGS Good Health
- Sector Health Care
- Partner Orbis