Malawi has a meager six professional eye specialists against a population of 13 million Malawians.
A local NGO, Eye for Development which promotes primary eye care services disclosed this to Zodiak Online.
Executive Director Mr. Edward Chileka Banda says this development has heavily contributed to preventable blindness among Malawians.
However while confessing the shortfall, Kasungu District Medical Officer Dr. Tikhala Makhaza called on the cooperate world to partner with government to bridge the existing gap.
He also urged communities to develop a medical seeking behavior when they notice eye problems.
Statistics show that they are over 140,000 people suffering from blindness in Malawi.
Eighty percent of these cases, it is said, could normally have been avoided where people were treated in time.
However, the shortage of eye specialists has been a huge setback in this area.
“Malawi has six eye specialists only,” he said during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Kasungu district. The meeting was aimed at promoting primary eye care services.
Contributors at the meeting expressed surprise that the eye department in the ministry of health has such a minute number of experts when eye problems are known to be wide spread in the country.
“It is worrisome that eye problems are neglected in Malawi yet they are equally a social and economic problem,” he said.
Eye for development has since called on government to fully integrate eye services in its implementation plans to save the masses from preventable blindness.
Kasungu district alone has an estimated 10,000 people with blindness. – Zodiak