World Bicycle Day - 250 bicycles bringing sight saving care to rural Zambia!

A Qatar Fund for Development supported project in the Copperbelt province of Zambia, is tackling the difficulties of delivering eye care in rural areas by providing 250 bikes to Community Eye Health Champions (CEHCs).

With over half of the region living in hard-to-reach locations, which even cars find hard to navigate, these bicycles enable those delivering eye care, to overcome these geographical obstacles and support villages in need of assistance.

The amazing and dedicated champions delivering this project, are also protecting their own vision though cycling too. A recent study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology, showed that for every hour of riding a day, a person’s risk of developing cataract could be reduced by 2%.

This work, which is part of the Qatar Creating Vision (QCV) initiative, implemented by Orbis, was launched in July last year. It focuses on expanding sight saving services for children, with 40% of the 2.5 million people in the region, being under the age of 15. What’s more, 60% are affected by poverty.

With childhood vision loss, it’s vital that support is provided quickly before permanent damage can occur. A lack of access to eye care can impact educations and livelihoods, creating a cycle of poverty – delayed access to treatment can have a long-term devastating impact.

World Bicycle Day celebrates this simple, reliable, clean and environmentally friendly means of transportation. Not to mention low cost and easy to maintain. Bicycles were recently distributed in Mpongwe District to Community Eye Care Champions after receiving training in Primary Eye Care. Bicycles help them to cover their catchment areas, reaching community members with awareness and screening services, creating demand for services, referrals and patient follow-up.

The district is vast rural area, accommodating over 10,000 inhabitants. Many CEHCs used to travel long distances on foot. With the bikes, there can now be swift and efficient travel to reach those with eye conditions such as cataract or refractive error. Mpongwe joins the nine other districts in the Copperbelt province benefitting from this initiative.

Nchimunya Kalangwa

Community Eye Health Champion

Pre­vi­ous­ly, our efforts to sup­port patients with eye con­di­tions were con­strained by trans­porta­tion chal­lenges. With the bicy­cles pro­vid­ed, we can now extend our reach to remote vil­lages, ensur­ing more indi­vid­u­als access essen­tial eye care services.

World Bicycle Relief have also generously donated a further 24 bikes, to ensure these champions can even more of an effect!

In the First 9 Months of This Project...

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