Almost 20 per cent of the population live in areas affected by blinding trachoma. This infectious disease starts out a bit like conjunctivitis, but if it’s not treated it causes scarring to the eyelid that makes the eyelashes turn inward, so with every blink they scrape against the eye. We’re working to eliminate the disease in Zambia by distributing medication, providing eye surgery and educating local communities about the importance of good hygiene.
Our work in the country also involves making sure eye health services are available for everyone, particularly marginalised groups such as women and people with disabilities. By preventing blindness, we ensure that people can continue to take care of their families, support themselves and earn a living.
We’ve carried out research into gender and eye health in Zambia to find out how eye problems affect men and women differently, and to learn how we can address these issues. Read our report on gender and eye health in Zambia (pdf)