In 2016, Seeing is Believing (SiB) and Orbis Zambia funded a study to research why women were not accessing cataract surgeries. The report highlighted the importance of counselling, connecting patients to post-surgery cataract patients and using simple accessible language to alleviate fears.
60-year-old Jane lives in Luamala village, Zambia. For the past 10 years she had been losing her sight: what started as a mild blur continued to worsen over the years until Jane could no longer see enough to work at her tailoring business. Jane and her family had decided against having a cataract surgery as they feared this would lead to complete blindness.
Following the research, SiB and Orbis linked former cataract patients as ‘vision ambassadors’ with community health workers who came across Jane’s household. They could relate to the concerns of Jane and her family but also explained the procedure and convinced them that surgery would change Jane’s life for the better. With their support Jane decided to return to her local vision centre, where she underwent surgery on both eyes.
Today, Jane is smiling and back at her sewing machine. Her business is once again flourishing and she no longer struggles with the day-to-day tasks that had become a nearly impossible burden with her vision loss.