Cataract surgery uptake in Zambia

Main objectives

The aim of this study was to understand cataract surgery uptake in the context of a community-based eye care intervention that eliminated some of the known barriers to cataract surgery uptake, i.e. user fees and transport.

The specific objectives of the study were:

  • To characterise the level of cataract surgery uptake in selected districts covered by the CATCH project
  • To explore individual, community and programme level factors that influenced the uptake of cataract surgery in these settings

To evaluate the decision-making processes among individuals referred for cataract surgery including the role of gender and disability.


Cataract remains the leading cause of blindness in middle and low-income countries and in Africa, cataract contributes to approximately half of all causes of blindness. Eye conditions in Zambia are ranked seventh among the main causes of hospital admissions and account for 31% of all outpatient visits at public facilities. The prevalence of blindness in Zambia is estimated at 1.1% in the general population and 2.8% in people aged 50 years and above with cataract being the leading cause.

This study sought to understand demand for cataract surgery and investigate the programme/health system, community and individual factors that influence cataract surgery uptake in the context of a programme that eliminated some of the known barriers to cataract surgery.


Study details
Start date
June 2016
Finish date
June 2017
Main contact
Elena Schmidt
Director of SPIDER, Policy and Programme Strategy