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The NURU project was a three-year project (April 2018–March 2021) implemented in Morogoro, Tanzania. It aimed at accelerating efforts to improve eye care services in selected district councils of Ulanga, Malinyi, Mlimba, and Ifakara TC. NURU’s mission was built on the WHO blocks and Tanzania’s National Eye Health Strategic Plan 2018-2022.
In those three years, Eye Care Foundation (ECF) managed to support the education of two ophthalmologists, two optometrists, one cataract surgeon, and eight ophthalmic nurses. Furthermore, two of the trainees are currently undergoing additional training in CCBRT and Morogoro referral Hospital, with support from ECF. The project also organized pilot training for 92 traditional healers, who are the first contact to patients in rural areas. Likewise, the health teachers in primary schools received a second pilot training for early identification of various eye conditions among kids.
In the frames of the NURU project, ECF built two eye units in two different districts and procured ophthalmic equipment for all eye units in the selected districts. One postponed construction will start in July 2021 in the third district council. During all screenings (community, events, and school) in the three years, the project reached more than 19.000 people and executed 2.206 surgeries (cataracts, pterygium, etc.). Around 500 patients received a referral to an eye unit in that period. Similarly, 115 specialized services (glaucoma & PCO) were provided at partner referral hospitals.
ECF is working on the extension of the NURU project to ensure proper service delivery in the districts. The goal is for all people to have access to and use equitable, quality, and sustainable eye care services. That will be of high value to the patients and the community as a whole.
IAPB predicted that in 2020 there was an estimated 8.2 million people with vision loss, and of these, 290.000 people were in Tanzania. The project has been part of the efforts to minimize those numbers.
The project has brought smiles to the faces of many people with avoidable blindness and taught them how to properly seek health information for the prevention and cure of eye problems.