Frank Magupa on behalf of the Dodoma Cataract Consortium
To increase the number of cataract surgeries performed each year in Dodoma region, Tanzania
As the global burden of cataract blindness has increased from 1990 to 2015, the incidence of new cases in Dodoma region, Tanzania, has also increased (from 15.6% in 2001), in part due to population aging. An updated estimate is 13,500 cases in the regional population of ~3 million. The benefits of cataract surgery far exceed costs, with a 4,500% return on investment, but to realise these benefits, services have to be upscaled. The WHO Vision Atlas GAP Indicators reported Tanzania's cataract surgical rate (CSR) at 518, well below that needed to keep pace with incidence and reduce the backlog of cases. The aim of this project is to increase the number of surgeries from around 2,000 per year currently performed by Consortium members, by 25% per year, with screening of an extra 4,000 people and 1,000 extra surgeries performed over the two-year project. This will be achieved by setting up three Cataract Satellite Centres (CSCs) to increase the number of patients, training three CSC staff in identifying suitable candidates to improve surgical outcomes, and promoting cataract awareness across the Dodoma region in order to increase uptake of screening and surgery.
Sustainability of the project will be achieved through five channels: an ongoing social enterprise model involving the sale of low cost spectacles; encouragement of cost sharing by patients; ongoing consumables support from Charity Vision; engaging further partners to join the Consortium and establish CSCs in the remaining districts of the Dodoma Region; and local ownership, achieved by utilising existing health centres owned by Dodoma Municipal Government.