David Shumba Health Reporter
Government has launched a national guiding strategy on eye care to assist people living with visual impairments and blindness. The National Eye Health Strategy (2014-2018) document is designed to guide Government in ensuring quality eye care services in the country through prevention and control of eye diseases and conditions.
Officially launching the strategy in Harare yesterday, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Paul Chimedza, said the strategy would ensure prevention and control of eye diseases.
“National Eye Health Strategy will ensure coordination of the eye diseases prevention and control activities and all stakeholders in the public and private sector and NGOs working in Zimbabwe will be guided by this document,” he said.
He said the strategy was implemented to address the rising visual impairments and blindness burden.
Dr Chimedza said the strategy also sought to ensure that eye diseases prevention and care across the country was equitable and of highest possible standard through strengthening the national prevention of blindness committee.
The NPBC is mandated to ensure appropriate coordination, planning for eye health services, monitoring programme performance and advising the ministry on all issues pertaining to eye health in the country.
Dr Chimedza, however, said the implementation of the strategy required careful planning and resource mobilisation as the healthcare system was already facing varying challenges.
“This (strategy) will, however, place further burden on the already overwhelmed health system and therefore will require careful planning, coordination and resource mobilisation,” he said.
In a speech read on his behalf, World Health Organisation country representative Dr David Okello, said WHO was ready to assist in implementing of the strategy.
“We commit to continue to broker partnership in support of the resourcing and providing of technical support for implementation of the strategy,” he said.
According to WHO statistics, an estimate of 125 000 people in Zimbabwe were blind of which 62 500 were blind from cataracts.
Zimbabwe has a backlog of 60 000 cataract surgery operations.