Grace Vision Blog

Grace Vision's progress made in Zithulele area clinics



Since 2012 Grace Vision has been assisting the Zithulele Hospital in providing primary eye care to patients attending the health clinics serving their rural catchment population of 130000. The corona virus has stopped work. This presents an opportunity to review the results achieved. All results relate to the periods ending 31 March of the year.

Initial Intention

The project was aimed at avoidable blindness. A mobile eye clinic, including a qualified Optometrist, visited the existing clinics on a programmed basis. Refractive assistance was provided and cataracts causing blindness were identified for surgery.

Refractive Error Correction

The chart demonstrates how over the years the presence of refractive error has been consistent at around one third of all visitors.

The appropriate corrective spectacles have been successfully provided to around three-quarters of those who need it.

A later development resulted in 48000 school children in the area being screened. Some 3% has needed refractive correction that is diagnosed, prescribed and provided during the mobile clinic visits.


Cataract Blind Surgery

The chart shows how the percentage of visitors presenting with cataracts has declined steadily over the period. The spread of the 750 cataract surgeries shows the same reduction over time.

There is a strong suspicion that the cataract backlog in this small population has been effectively eliminated.


The Additional Cost

Grace Vision is a non-profit NGO that is financed by voluntary donations. Its success for the population in the Zithulele area is the result of cooperation between various government departments and most especially the support provided by the personnel at the state hospitals at Mthatha and Zithulele.

The actual additional cost of topping up the healthcare to include this level of effective primary eye care works out at about R12 per year per member of population.


This is an effective example of what is being done in hidden corners of the world to achieve the goals spelled out by the IAPB.


Retired Actuary

10 April 2020

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Grace and Dignity

NPC: 1998/18381/08
NPO: 006-142 NPO
PBO: 930 027 945

Operational Address:

Zithulele Mission
Zithulele Village
Mqanduli District 5080
Eastern Cape
South Africa

Physical Address:

Albion Springs
183 Main Road, Rondebosch
Cape Town

Mailing Address:

PO Box 290
Plumstead 7801
Cape Town
South Africa

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