Hundreds in Nigeria Benefit from Catholic Entity’s Initiative for Visually Impaired

Harambee Africa International (HAI) is supporting eye screening and treatment in Nigeria's Enugu State. Credit: HAI

Over 500 people with varying eye complications have benefitted from the support of Harambee Africa International (HAI), a Catholic Development foundation that is presently targeting persons in Nigeria’s “rural and marginalized communities”.

Those supported in rural communities of Nigeria’s Enugu State underwent medical screening after which they received the much needed treatment and specialist care, according to a September 15 HAI report.

In the report, the entity that supports African countries acknowledges the high rate of visual impairment in the Nigerian State, noting that those with varying levels of blindness often go untreated owing to lack of access to medication.

“Nigeria is a captivating and diverse country, but it faces significant challenges in providing healthcare to its rural and marginalized communities. One of the most pressing issues is blindness and visual impairment, often left untreated due to limited access to care,” HAI says.

According to the foundation, uncorrected refractive error, cataracts, and glaucoma are the leading causes of visual problems in these regions.


HAI is working with the Niger Foundation Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, a Nigerian entity committed to improving the health of the vulnerable population in Enugu State.

The hospital is actively engaged in a project to improve the vision of people in rural areas around Enugu. It is financially supported by HAI, “which provides its support to help these initiatives come to life.”

“The project at hand has two key objectives: preventing and treating blindness and visual impairment in rural areas and establishing an Ophthalmology Center for cataract surgeries,” HAI says.

“The initiative has achieved remarkable results,” the Rome-based development entity says, adding that so far, a total of 565 patients have received free eye examinations, granting them access to much-needed care. 

“The primary focus has been on rural communities, with 121 individuals undergoing free screenings at the Iwollo Rural Clinic,” HAI says.

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The entity explains, “In addition to assessing visual acuity and conducting screening tests, patients have had access to refractive corrections and consultations with an ophthalmology specialist when needed. Furthermore, free medical examinations, including blood pressure and blood sugar measurements, have been conducted to ensure a holistic approach to health.”

According to HAI, Nigeria faces significant healthcare challenges, including resource availability and equitable distribution of healthcare facilities. 

“Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional pressures to the healthcare system,” the development entity says, underscoring the need for the improvement project in rural areas of Enugu, which is an attempt to bridge the gap in access to ophthalmic care.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.