New QCV Eye Health Programme Launches in Zambia

Press release - 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 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

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

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.

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