Recap Newsletter 2023

Welcome to the Orbis Zambia Recap Newsletter for the year 2023.

Lucia Nadif, Orbis Zambia Country Director
Lucia Nadaf, Orbis Zambia Country Director

Dear friends,

In 2023, we continued our mission to eliminate avoidable blindness across the country in the three provinces we have been operating, namely Lusaka, Copperbelt, and North-Western. We are grateful for the partnership with the Ministry of Health which allows us to enhance service provision in the three provinces we support.

With the addition of the Qatar Creating Vision Project, funded by the Qatar Fund for Development, we are thrilled and ready to ensure that children in the 10 districts of the Copperbelt receive quality eye care services. More excitement came as we hosted the remarkable Flying Eye Hospital bringing with it the blessing of specialty training and saving sight.

Thanks to all the partners for supporting our work in Zambia.

Gender and Eye Health

Empowering Women in Ophthalmology: a Day of Mentorship and Inspiration

Women In Ophthalmology Workshop
WIO participants pose for a photo during the workshop in Sarovah in Lusaka.

On September 7, 2023, at the Sarovah Premiere Hotel, an inspiring event unfolded—the "Women in Ophthalmology Mentorship Workshop." This event marked a significant stride in promoting gender equality and empowering women within the field of ophthalmology.

The training was a day full of thought-provoking planning sessions, beneficial networking chances, and stimulating conversations. It brought together women in the field of ophthalmology from different backgrounds to exchange experiences, knowledge, and advice. As a result, attendees had a day that motivated them and prepared them to explore new opportunities in the field of eye care.

The participants' shared experiences and knowledge became the workshop's central theme. The female pioneers in the field of ophthalmology shared insightful accounts of their experiences. They talked about the difficulties they encountered, the roadblocks they surmounted, and the tactics that have helped them succeed. Not only is this abundance of knowledge helpful to aspiring female ophthalmologists, but it also honours the persistence of women in the field.

Renewed Vision: Restored Hope Through Eye Surgery

Some homes in rural Zambia only have one parent to care for an extended family which demands a lot of resources and requires one to satisfy all their daily commitments. Going blind for a single parent has been demonstrated to have an impact on how homes are run, especially if there is only one parent, which can lead to a lack of adequate care for the children and failed aspirations.

As the only parent who works as a farmer, Charity's loss of both eyes had an impact on her social life and ability to support her children.

In Chikonka Village, Chongwe District, Lusaka, farming is the primary source of income, and Charity Langa says that after developing bilateral cataracts, she felt like her life had lost all purpose because taking care of the family is almost impossible for those with eyesight problems.

Charity added that members of the community began suggesting traditional treatments, such as liquid drops made from tree roots, and some of her relatives warned her that she might not be able to get her sight back when she visits the clinic.

However, she visited the Chongwe District Hospital eye clinic, where she was informed that she had bilateral cataracts and was assured that surgery would not damage her eyes. She had surgery performed on her through a surgical camp with a visiting UTHs Eye Hospital and she got her sight back the following day.

When the eye patches were taken off and Charity was shown the Visual Acuity Chart, she shed tears of joy and thanked everyone in the operating room, particularly the ophthalmologist who had performed the procedure.

“I missed the gorgeous face of my last-born child, who is now three years old, but was only two when I stopped seeing. I can now return to the village to meet my friends, who felt I had abandoned them when I lost my sight and was unable to see anything,” said Charity.

Our Sight-Saving Work

Outreach Activities in Lusaka, Copperrbelt and North-Western Province

Eye health surgery camps have become an essential response to the prevalence of numerous eye-related disorders that can result in blindness even when prevention is possible, especially in rural and neglected areas of Zambia. With support from the University Teaching Hospital's Eye Hospital, Orbis Zambia continued to support partner hospitals in the regions of Kafue, Chongwe, and Rufunsa as planned activities through the David and Molly Pyott Foundations by providing eye screenings, treatments, and surgeries.

In North-western Province during the year, through Latter-Day Saint Project, Orbis continued to provide cataract surgical camps in the areas including Mukinge, Mukinge, Chavuma, Ikelenge, Kasempa, Manyinga, Mwinilunga, Mufumbwe, Kalumbila, Kabompo and Zambezi and preceded by outreach camps that were supported by Ophthalmic staff from Solwezi and Mukinge General Hospitals.

Eye Outreach camp
Patients wait for removal of eye patch and review of the operation they had during an all women cataract camp in Sesheke

Exciting News

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