Zambia

Zambia is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, with 78 percent of its almost 17-million population living in poverty.

Facing the Challenge

Tragically, Zambia also has a large blind population and one of the highest rates of childhood blindness in the world. With only one ophthalmologist per million Zambians, the prevalence of blindness is estimated to be as high as 2 percent.

Our Response

• We focus on capacity building and training eye-care professionals and faculty.

• We develop community outreach programmes to ensure children in need are identified early for treatment.

• We coordinate the mass distribution of the antibiotic Zithromax to eliminate blinding Trachoma in the region.

Our Presence

Orbis has been partnering with the Zambian Ministry of Health since 2010. Orbis International Zambia, a branch of Orbis International, was established in 2017 to support our work nationally.

In North-Western Province, Orbis works across all the province’s eight districts, with a focus on cataract surgery and trachoma control and prevention Seeing is Believing, a Standard Chartered Bank initiative initially funded the programme. Investment from HNA Group will see the rollout of the Africa Brightness Campaign in the province.

In Copperbelt Province, Orbis has expanded its child eye health programme from tertiary level to community, primary and secondary levels in the province’s ten districts. In 2016, Orbis received a 3-year grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) through the Vision for Zambia match aid appeal.

The Human Resources for Eye Health (HReH) project at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka focuses on building the institutional capacity of UTH-Eye Hospital to train high quality eye health workers and ensure competent and highly skilled faculty.

Successes

• Orbis supported the opening of the Paediatric Eye Care Centre in partnership with Kitwe Central Hospital. The only facility has become a referral point for the whole country and beyond.

• We have supported an increase in the cataract surgical rate from 446 to 1 686 in North-Western Province.

• Orbis facilitated the successful roll-out of the film-screening methodology for improved community awareness and engagement on eye-health issues.

• In 2017, Orbis led advocacy efforts to increase and improve eye health data collected nationwide. This data enables us to assess uptake, accurately target and improve interventions, and raise the profile of eye health care.