Although the number of eye care providers in Tanzania is increasing, as of 2016 the country’s ratio of 0.8 ophthalmologists for every 1 million Tanzanians remains concerningly low. As a result, many people wait for years to seek treatment, and vision problems that could be addressed with early intervention worsen - with detrimental effects on the affected individuals’ capacity to study, work and perform daily tasks.
Over the last few years we have tried to address obvious eye and sight conditions in the children that we visit at primary school by taking those with problems to a clinic in Iringa. Whilst this has been helpful for a small number of children it is really only the tip of the iceberg and we feel we need to put in a place a more robust programme to help a greater number children in this rural community.
We have set up an eye clinic to run for 2 days at the Ifunda Health Centre in September 2018. This will be run as a trial; we will be able to screen & treat around 200 children & teachers for eye infections, allergies and refractive errors. If the trial is successful we plan to repeat it, probably on a cyclical basis, to ensure we see more children in Ifunda who without the clinic would be unable to afford glasses or treatment for eye conditions.
We have set up the clinic in co-operation with Dr Kabona MD, MMed, ICO (International Council of Opthalmology) Ophthalmologist from Iringa Regional Hospital.
We are actively fundraising to pay for this programme.