Project Orbis International, Inc.

Vision 4 Africa: Joining Forces to Tackle the Blindness Crisis Highly Ranked

Lead Organization

Project Orbis International, Inc.

New York, New York, United States

Take Action

Connect with us

To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Across sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 20 million people are blind or visually impaired. However, 75% do not need to be. The impact is devastating – stigmatizing blind individuals and affecting quality of life and ability to learn and earn. Blindness and visual impairment are projected to triple by 2050 due to growing and aging populations, however proven, cost-effective solutions exist. The time is now to address this emerging global vision crisis – especially in Africa, where an urgent need exists to increase availability and access to key eye health services, particularly among marginalized populations. Four leading global eye health organizations are working together to scale up eye health across Africa. Our solution will improve sight for over 650,000 people, immediately returning their independence and improving quality of life. And it will build national health systems capable of delivering sustainable eye health solutions to an additional 100 million people in need.

Problem Statement

Vision loss is devastating for families, communities and economies – affecting children’s access to education, people’s ability to provide for their families, and placing a burden on health systems. Women are 1.5 times more likely to be blind than men, and women and girls are more likely to stay home to care for a blind relative. Poverty, age, disability and distance also prevent access to eye health services, leading to blindness and visual impairment, and further driving individuals into poverty.75% of blindness is avoidable, and solutions are known. Yet in Africa, an estimated 20 million people are blind or visually impaired due to weak capacity of health systems to meet today’s urgent demand, and tomorrow’s growing challenges. They lack effective mechanisms for detecting and treating eye problems and are critically short of trained staff and equipped facilities, particularly at the community level. Timing is critical. By leveraging the capacity, knowledge and lessons from our recent collective efforts to eliminate blinding trachoma, we can address the rapidly growing major causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment – in particular, cataract and refractive error. In doing so, we will deliver a comprehensive, durable solution that is aligned with governments, and informed by communities. Restoring sight to one individual goes far beyond the moment when treatment is provided. It means regaining dignity, independence and opportunity – it frees family members (particularly women and girls) from day-to-day caregiving, it opens doors to community engagement, and it unburdens social welfare systems of costly services.

Solution Overview

Our solution will scale up eye health service delivery and build the long-term foundation for national health systems to deliver quality care, accessible to everyone. Our solution will span Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Sierra Leone, ensuring access to eye health services for 100 million people, mostly in remote areas. By working in diverse environments, we will demonstrate an effective solution at scale across East and West Africa.We will screen the eyes of 17 million people by expanding community and primary level services. We will provide over 380,000 sight-restoring cataract surgeries by bringing services closer to the people who need them. And we will provide glasses to 270,000 people, including school children, through stronger optical services and school health programs. Our approaches will be tailored to ensure that women, girls and people with a disability are able to equitably access services. We will collaborate closely with national governments, communities, and non-governmental partners, to break down key supply and demand barriers. We will strengthen governance systems to enable delivery of sustainable eye health services. We will know we are making progress when the most marginalized have equitable service coverage. We will document evidence of our impact to inform national planning and financing. We will share lessons across our global networks to advocate for increased national investment and greater prioritization for eye health within UHC. By ensuring eye health integration within a strong health system, we will build a sustainable foundation to meet both current and future eye health needs.

+ Read More

More Solutions Like This

Highly Ranked

Eye diseases

Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc.

Cure Blindness, Create Sustainable Eyecare Systems - A Global Model

Bhutan, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nepal

Highly Ranked

Eye diseases

Medical Research Foundation

Gift of sight on Wheels: fights blindness in India


Highly Ranked

Eye diseases

Seva Foundation

Scaling Sight: Ending Preventable Blindness in Guatemala and Beyond

Guatemala, India, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru

Highly Ranked

Eye diseases

UCSF Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology

Eradicating trachoma, once and for all

United States, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Niger, South Sudan

Highly Ranked

Eye diseases

The Task Force for Global Health

Removing the Greatest Obstacle to the Elimination of River Blindness

Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo

Highly Ranked

Vision care

Johns Hopkins University

Let There Be Sight: Solving the eyeglass problem in Africa

Gambia, Liberia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania

Eye diseases

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Senegal

Load More