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Our work in Zambia

Sightsavers is working towards eliminating blinding trachoma in Zambia. Each year, we distribute hundreds of thousands of treatments to help control the spread of the disease and protect people’s sight.

Five young children sitting in a line and holding hands while smiling at each other

Two-thirds of Zambia’s population live in poverty, and it’s thought that one in 10 people has some form of visual impairment.

More than 2.6 million people live in areas affected by trachoma. We’re working to eliminate the disease in Zambia by distributing medication, providing eye surgery and educating 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. 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. By preventing blindness, we ensure that people can continue to take care of their families, support themselves and earn a living.

We also support inclusive education in Zambia to ensure children with disabilities are able to go to school. A new four-year project launches in February 2022 to improve educational opportunities for children and young people with disabilities in the Chinsali district.

At a glance

Total population
  • 17.6 million

  • What we focus on
  • Trachoma
  • Cataracts

  • Key programmes
  • Tropical Data Project
  • Cataract surgery

  • Previous programmes
  • CATCH
  • SAFE: trachoma control
  • The Trachoma Initiative
  • Our eye health work in Zambia is vital: it is reaching a lot of women, children and people with disabilities.
    Glenda Mulenga, Zambia country director
    Sightsavers Zambia country director Glenda Mulenga.

    How we’re making a difference in Zambia

    Dr Ndalela, an ophthalmologist, from Senanga District Hospital.

    Reaching remote areas

    Mr Ndalela is the only eye surgeon in Senanga who can carry out tricky procedures. He’s able to build close relationships within the community.
    Read Mr Ndalela’s story

    Five twelve-year-olds taking part in Super School of 5 at Chikonkomene Primary in Chikankata, Zambia.

    Fighting disease

    The Super School of Five project teaches children about the importance of hygiene to help stop the spread of trachoma.
    Read about the project

    Lovemore on a swing smiling after his operation

    Protecting sight

    Sightsavers’ Corinna May visited nine-year-old Lovemore in eastern Zambia to find out how cataract surgery has transformed his life.
    Read Corinna’s blog

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    Hear first-hand how people’s lives have been transformed now that trachoma has been eliminated in the country.

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    Trachoma is eliminated in Malawi

    Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa to eliminate the infectious eye disease trachoma, as confirmed by the World Health Organization.

    September 2022
    Priscilla Mhango (31), an Opthalamic Resident at Lions Sight First Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. She is currently under training supported by Sightsavers.
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    Dr Priscilla Mhango is an eye health hero, saving sight in Malawi. She’s one of the talented cataract surgeons whose training was supported by Sightsavers.

    Mary stands holding a book after her cataracts operation.
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    “I’m so happy I can see my grandfather again!”

    Mary has regained her sight and independence after a successful cataracts operation, enabling her to return to school and play with other children.

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work