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Sightsavers launches eye health programme in Tanzania

October 2019
A woman with a bandaged eye and a girl smiling
The programme will help people such as Joyce John (left) to get help for eye conditions such as cataracts.

Sightsavers is launching a three-year programme to provide quality eye care to rural populations in the Morogoro and Singida regions of Tanzania.

The programme, funded by UK Aid Match, will ensure that eye health services are accessible to everyone. By July 2020, 150,000 people in these regions will have improved access to quality eye care services. The programme aims to provide more than 13,000 cataract operations and restore the sight of thousands more people using non-surgical treatment.

Imran Khan, Sightsavers’ chief global technical lead, said: “We know that eye health services are not reaching many of the most marginalised people in the Morogoro and Singida regions. Information and services must be made more accessible so that everyone can get treatment for eye conditions equally, including women, older people and people with disabilities.”

Blindness and poor vision have a huge impact on quality of life for people living in Morogoro and Singida. They often lead to social isolation and financial insecurity. The programme aims to train more than 350 health staff in primary eye care, and more than 550 clinical and non-clinical staff in gender and disability inclusion to ensure services are accessible to all.

As well as increasing awareness and understanding of inclusion, the programme will improve the accessibility of health facilities and ensure that people with disabilities are involved in leading and shaping the services provided.

“This programme is building on our previous work in these regions, as well as on our experience in making healthcare inclusive for all, so that no one is left behind,” said Khan. “We are working with local government in both regions, as well as older people’s organisations, disability rights groups and women’s organisations. Our partners will play a vital role in making this happen.”

A boy in Zanzibar wears special specs to have his eyes tested.

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