Orbis Africa is a non-profit organisation that works in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce preventable and treatable blindness and visual impairment. At Orbis Africa we are committed to seeing a continent where no one is needlessly blind. Orbis Africa is affiliated to Orbis International, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the improvement of eye health globally since its inception in 1982. Orbis Africa always works in partnership with stakeholders from government to civil society and aligns its work with national policy. Orbis Africa aims to establish, or strengthen, 10 Child Eye Health Tertiary Facilities by 2020. When sight is restored to people who are visually impaired, or when blindness is prevented, it doesn’t just improve the lives of individuals, it strengthens communities, enables children to access schooling in their local communities and it ensures families are able to build a better future for themselves by increasing their economic and social standing. Orbis Africa manages two large initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa: • The Child Eye Health initiative focuses on a comprehensive model for child eye health in sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen existing eye health services and to establish new services where none exist. • The Human Resources for Eye Health (HReH) Strengthening initiative, in partnership with IAPB Africa, supports the development of comprehensive HReH across sub-Saharan Africa. Orbis Africa also works to strengthen the referral network and follow up system and increase awareness amongst adults, parents, guardians and communities of the importance of early medical services for children’s eye conditions on the continent.
Country programmes focus on long-term capacity building and sustainability by improving facilities and equipment for eye care, and training eye health professionals. Orbis Africa works to achieve the Surgery and Antibiotics components of the SAFE strategy in comprehensive rural eye care projects. The Face-Washing and Environmental Change aspects are achieved through partnerships. A critical component of child eye health is access to services. Research findings have pointed out very clearly that in order to eliminate avoidable blindness on the continent eye health needs to be supported by partnerships outside of eye health and outside of the formal health care system. This has resulted in Orbis Africa aiming to form a partnership with structures such as Traditional Healers’ Forums and utilising other innovative community interventions which include the following: • Communication for social change: STEPS faciliatated film screenings • Giving youth a voice: Children’s Radio Foundation • Effective referral sources for people with cataract in rural South Africa: Collaboration with Traditional Healers • Early childhood development: Training Resources in Early Education (TREE) • Primary eye health workers: KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, South Africa • Engagement with Queen mothers to integrate eye care into community health programmes in Ghana • Using mobile smartphone technology to increase community access to cataract services in rural Zambia