AT least 8 000 children below 16 years have developed childhood blindness due to congenital cataracts and glaucoma, eye injuries, measles and retinoblastoma, Health and Child Care minister Constantino Chiwenga has said.
Speaking at the official launch of the national eye strategy for the period 2021-2025 in Harare yesterday, Chiwenga said the country’s eye health programmes were mostly being funded by development partners as government was struggling to fund the health sector.
“As we launch this national eye strategy for the period 2021 to 2025, the government is fully aware of the financing constraints that bedevilled the predecessor strategy. The constraints result in the eye health care programme being heavily dependent on unsustainable funding from national and international development partners,” he said.
He applauded opticians at Parirenyatwa Hospital for conducting a week-long eye camp that saw more than 500 patients receiving free cataract surgery.
“The current eye camp at this hospital marks the beginning of expedited implementation of the just -launched eye strategy. We look forward to more of these camps so that we reach everyone everywhere as we march towards universal health coverage,” Chiwenga said.
“It is crucial to generate data and information about eye diseases and conditions in the country at all levels of health service provision. This is key to ensure eye health provision is evidence-based for decision-making, policymaking, resource mobilisation and resource allocation.
“In fact, evidence-based information for eye health service delivery is critical for programming. In this regard, the strategy advocates for the establishment of a national eye health database, monitoring and evaluation mechanism and eye health research.”
The country’s first eye strategy was launched in 2014.
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