Zambia is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, with 78% of its almost 17-million population living in poverty – most Zambians being subsistence farmers. Tragically, it 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%.
• We focus on capacity building and training eye-care professionals and faculty.
• We develop community outreach programmes to ensure children in need are identified and given the best possible care as quickly as possible.
• We coordinate the mass distribution of the antibiotic Zithromax to eliminate blinding Trachoma in the region.
Orbis has been partnering with the Zambian Ministry of Health since 2010 to build capacity within the overburdened and under-resourced healthcare system. 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 levels of eye health throughout the province’s eight districts, with a focus on increasing the cataract surgical rate and implementing trachoma control and prevention in areas with prevalence above 10%. 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 from 2018.
In Copperbelt Province, Orbis has expanded its child eye health programme from tertiary level to community, primary and secondary levels of care 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 has made great strides. The project focuses on building the institutional capacity of UTH-Eye Hospital to train high quality eye health workers and ensure competent and highly skilled faculty.
In addition, Orbis secured funding from Sightsavers in 2017 to implement mass drug administration for trachoma in the Kitwe district.
SUCCESS IN ZAMBIA
• Orbis supported the opening of the Paediatric Eye Care Centre, in partnership with Kitwe Central Hospital, to provide specialised treatment and care for children with complex sight problems
• As the only facility in the country that is appropriately equipped and staffed for paediatric eye care, it 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 took the advocacy lead and worked collaboratively with the Ministry of Health and other NGOs to increase and improve eye health data collected. As a result, data is now broken down by gender, age and type of eye condition which will enable us to asses uptake, accurately target and improve interventions, and raise the profile of eye.
Read our latest success story from Zambia here: Duncan’s Passion For Eye Health.
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