The patients turned away were unlikely to seek further help due to lack of money or distance to get to their nearest hospital.
The CATCH programme, which stands for Coordinated Approach to Community Health, was set up to ensure people can be diagnosed, referred and given the treatment they need whatever their eye condition.
The CATCH programme currently operates in five countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia. It piggybacks on large-scale trachoma initiatives and ensures cataract patients are given transport to the nearest facility where cataract surgeries can be performed.
The programme helps communities affected by blinding trachoma as well as other visual impairments. These communities are among the poorest in the world, with high incidence of eye diseases due to poor hygiene, poor sanitation, inadequate nutrition and limited or non-existent eye health services.
Vision Spring USA has kindly donated 55,000 pairs of reading glasses which are being distributed to those in need through the programme.