Daniel MASHELE Project Coordinator Eye Care Foundation
Tanzania lags far behind when it comes to eye care service delivery. There are very few ophthalmologists, and the government is focused mostly on problems like maternal and child health, fighting malaria, TB and the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
For a couple of years, Eye Care Foundation (ECF) has been supporting government health initiatives in the region of Morogoro covering the councils of Malinyi, Ulanga, Kilombero now Mlimba, and Ifakara town aiming to improve eye health that contributes effectively to individual and national development. The project involves the construction of eye units in phases, provision of equipment and instruments, organization of mobile eye camps, staff capacity building, and raising eye health awareness. Through the NURU project, ECF has also been collaborating with the St. Francis Referral Hospital (SFRH) and the Morogoro Region Referral Hospital (MRRH) to strengthen service delivery within their departments.
The construction of eye units has been going hand in hand with staff training, procuring equipment and campaigning for behaviour change for communities to seek eye health services. The Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) that has been conducted in Morogoro region shows 2.7% prevalence of avoidable blindness, which needs quick intervention.
The construction of eye units in the districts has been a great help for the marginalized communities especially women and children to access eye health service at a nearby distance. The eye units offer a range of services including cataract surgeries. The eye units which are at the primary level reduces the influx at tertiary level and ensures standardized eye care services within the primary level settings.
Eye Care Foundation is happy to collaborate with other partners to ensure the eye care services in the region of Morogoro receive quality eye services that aims at reducing avoidable blindness.