Burden of Visual Disability in Eastern Uganda’s Namisindwa District

Gaf Eye Health Foundation is a community based organization offering primary eye health care services in underserved communities like Namisindwa district.

Primary eye health care is a broad concept, encompassing the prevention of potentially blinding eye diseases through primary health care (PHC). Primary eye health care includes the identification, with treatment or referral, of individuals with treatable causes of blindness; and the diagnosis and treatment of common eye diseases, particularly those causing an acute red eye.

Globally more than 253 million people are visually impaired. In Africa, 26.3 million people have form of visual impairment, of these 20.8 million have low vision and 5.9 million are estimated to be blind.  It is estimated that 15.3 % of the world’s blind population reside in Africa (WHO 2021)

In Uganda 57.7 % of blindness is caused by cataracts while uncorrected refractive errors are the commonest cause of visual impairment. Reports at the Ministry of Health headquarters indicate that in Uganda over 400,000 people are blind and another 1 million have visual impairment.

A visual impairment can cause disability(ies) by significantly interfering with one’s ability to function independently, to perform activities of daily living, or to travel safely through the environment.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) census of 2014, Namisindwa (26%) and Otuke (25%) districts had very high disability prevalence rates while Kampala and Butambala recorded the lowest prevalence rates of below seven percent. The disability involved visual, hearing, walking and remembrance.

From Uganda Bureau of statistics (UBOS) census of 2014, prevalence of visual disability of 5 years and above people indicated that Namisindwa district was the second highest in visual disability in both males (8.1%) and females (10.1%) in Eastern Uganda.

Therefore, there is need for more collaboration and partnership for the better eye care service delivery in marginalized communities. 

Finally, Gaf  Eye Health Foundation is ready and willing to work with any individual or organization to prevent all the avoidable blindness in order to reduce visual disabilities.