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Cameroon cataract project success

More than 50,000 people have been screened and 2300 have received cataract surgery

16 Jun 2019 by Emily McCormick

A cataract project in Cameroon has reported a successful first year with more than 2300 cataract surgeries performed.

A total of 50,000 people have been screened for the condition by the Cameroon Cataract Bond project, which was established through funding from a development impact bond.

The project marks a new way of funding healthcare in the African country, bringing together public and private investors, health donors and eye care delivery experts.

The bond aims to support the Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute (MICEI) in providing 18,000 cataract surgeries over a five-year period.

In its first 12 months the hospital has held 103 outreach camps and screened 11,284 patients, with a further 42,899 people screened at the hospital.

Staff across the hospital received training from the Magrabi Hospital Group, while nurses have been taught refraction and two ophthalmologists have completed Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery training.

The project has confirmed that the surgeries performed have exceeded standards set by the World Health Organization as almost 70% of surgeries resulted in good visual outcomes the day following surgery. Just 2.8% reported a poor outcome.

The project aims to provide 40% of its surgeries to people classified in two of the country’s poorest groups. Currently it is on 29% of this goal.

Primary donor and founder of the hospital, Dr Akef el-Maghraby, said: “My goal is to make high quality eye care accessible to the people of Cameroon regardless of their ability to pay.

“We are encouraged by the progress made so far towards the goal of building greater eye care capacity for Cameroon and for the region.”

The Cameroon Cataract Bond is led by the Cataract Bond Design Coalition, which includes The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Sightsavers, the African Eye Foundation and Volta Capital.

Image credit: MICEI

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