Surrounded by some of Africa’s most beautiful landscapes, Zambia has only 15 qualified optometrists for a population of 17 million people.

To help address the shortage of eye care workers and access to affordable eye care services, Vision Aid Overseas has been working in Zambia since 1999.

Our work in focus

Child Eye Health and Primary Eye Care

With thanks to Specsavers: for ‘Embedding sustainable Eye Care Services in Zambia’, reaching hundreds of thousands of people via Primary Eye Care and School Based Eye Health activities, within three years between 2020-2023.

Goal: To integrate sustainable eye care services across Zambia, with a focus on primary eyecare and school-based eye health.


Objective 1: Integrate primary eye care into primary health care in Zambia through the adoption of the WHO-AFRO Primary Eye Care Guidelines


  1. Hold a workshop with the MOH and other eye health stakeholders to develop a plan for the integration of the PEC WHO-AFRO manual, starting with a pilot in one district;
  2. Conduct a thorough baseline to determine the current knowledge, attitudes and practice towards eye health at primary level;
  3. Implement the PEC training in 1 district. Document the process and learning;
  4. Conduct a thorough evaluation, and hold a dissemination workshop for all stakeholders, in particular in government;
  5. Support to MOH to mobilise resources for national scale up of PEC.


Objective 2: Integrate School Eye Health into a national School Health plan.


  1. Complete phase two of pilot following adaptations made from learnings from phase 1 (1 district).
  2. Develop and test methods for the inclusion of out-of-school children.
  3. Develop comprehensive guidelines for SEH in Zambia. Working with MOH to deliver concrete recommendations for all school eye health programmes in Zambia.
  4. Orient teachers and community leaders on how to identify pupils and community members who have eye ailments.
  5. Work with the Ministry of Education to introduce eye health education in primary school curriculum.
  6. Collaborate with partners in eye health promotion.
  7. Promote eye health seeking behaviour using context-specific Social Behaviour Change and Communication (SBCC) materials and media.
  8. Train personnel to ensure data is captured well and adequately monitored.
  9. Carry out a results dissemination workshop, including government representatives and other child focused NGOs.
  10. Support to MOH and MOE to mobilise resources for national scale up.


To read the latest report on our School Eye Health pilot survey in Kafue district, click here.

To read our assessment on the scalability of the School Eye Health programme in Zambia, conducted December 2020, click here.

To read our protocol for School Eye Health programmes in Zambia, 'A study to understand the prevalence of refractive errors in school children in Zambia', click here.


Vision Centres and Outreach

By working in partnership with Specsavers, the Ministry of Health in Zambia, and other partners over many years, we have been able to:

  • Establish eleven Vision Centres, one in each province across Zambia.
  • Develop a centre of excellence at Chainama College of Health Sciences to support and inspire all the Zambian Vision Centres.
  • Support community eye care services, enhancing the skills of Ophthalmic Nurses and Ophthalmic Clinical Officers to be able to refract patients and dispense glasses.

Training and Education

By working in partnership with Specsavers, the Ministry of Health in Zambia, and other partners over many years, we have been able to:

  • Develop a diploma course in Optometry at the Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka.
  • Provide continued professional development training to Optometry Technologist graduates from Chainama College to reinforce their clinical skills as they transition from college to work.

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