A study is underway to determine if The Foundation should expand its work into the North West Province of South Africa.
The Foundation is conducting a Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) to calculate the amount and types of blindness in the province. The survey will also identify any service, infrastructure and training gaps.
So far, The Foundation’s work in South Africa has focused on the Eastern Cape Province. Sitting on the border of Botswana, the North West is considered to be the least developed of South Africa’s nine provinces. Around 51.5 per cent of its 3.6 million residents live in poverty.
Already, some North West Province nurses have completed eye care training with The Foundation’s support. Future projects in the province could give thousands more people living with avoidable blindness the chance to see, and experience a full life.
Depending on the survey results, projects to commence in the province next year could include eye screening and treatment. The Foundation may also support the delivery of medical infrastructure and equipment, community awareness campaigns about eye health, and training of eye health professionals.
Around 225,000 people are living with blindness in South Africa. It is estimated that 66 per cent are affected by cataract – a treatable condition. RAAB surveys are an important tool The Foundation uses in the countries it works in, to determine where new eye projects should be established.
The RAAB survey is being undertaken in partnership with PRASHASA Health Consultants. The Foundation is also working closely with the Ministry of Health in North West Province.