DONATE
sightsavers_news

50,000 patients screened during first year of innovative cataract project

June 2019

An eye health project funded through an innovative financing approach has celebrated a monumental first year, screening more than 50,000 patients and providing cataract operations to more than 2,300 people in Cameroon.

The Cameroon Cataract Development Impact Loan, known as the Cameroon Cataract Bond, brings together public and private investors alongside eye care delivery experts and charities, including Sightsavers.

The loan is a type of development impact bond, in which investors provide financing for social programmes upfront. Donor organisations then repay investors their principal plus a return based on performance.

The bond is providing the funding for a new eye hospital,  the Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute (MICEI), owned by the African Eye Foundation. As well as providing vital cataract surgery, the hospital will train eye health staff from the region, helping to improve local health systems and ensure they are self-sustaining.

In its first year, the hospital held 103 outreach camps to screen 11,284 patients, with a further 42,899 patients screened at the hospital. Staff at the hospital, including ophthalmologists and nurses, have also received training and mentoring.

The quality of operations exceeded World Health Organization standards, with 92 per cent of patients able to see much better following their surgery.

Financially, the hospital is performing better than anticipated after its first year and is on track to become financially sustainable within five years.

Primary donor and hospital founder Dr Akef el-Maghraby, an ophthalmologist and chairman of the Magrabi Hospital Group, said: “My goal is to make high-quality eye care accessible to the people of Cameroon, regardless of their ability to pay. This is the first project for the Africa Eye Foundation, and lays the foundation for a network of integrated and self-sustainable eye hospitalsthat  the organisation plans to build across Africa.”

The Cameroon Cataract Bond is led by a coalition made up of Sightsavers, The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the African Eye Foundation and Volta Capital. It is financed with a $2 million loan to MICEI from The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Netri Foundation.

The Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute.
The Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute in Cameroon is funded by the loan.

Read all our latest news stories

News from Sightsavers
A surgeon operates, using only the light of a window, on a patient to save their sight from trachoma.
sightsavers_news

Photo of sight-saving surgery is nominated for prestigious UK prize

Adriane Ohanesian’s image of a surgeon operating on a teenager in a makeshift clinic has been put forward for the Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

June 2019
Three women laughing together
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers petition calls on government of Malawi to protect people with albinism

It is estimated that there are over 134,600 people with albinism living in Malawi, many of whom face deep-seated discrimination.

June 2019
Professor Christopher Whitty.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers trustee appointed chief medical officer for England

Professor Christopher Whitty, who has been on Sightsavers’ board of trustees since 2017, will take up the post in October.

June 2019

Learn about our work to save sight