The main objectives of rapid assessments of avoidable blindness (RAABs) are to establish the magnitude and causes of avoidable blindness in an area where we are delivering, or planning to deliver, eye health services. As well as providing important information to help us plan suitable services they also provide useful baseline data that can be replicated 8-10 years later to measure the reduction in blindness or changes in the causes of visual impairment.
Compared to large scale epidemiological surveys, RAABs are a relatively quick and resource-light tool to help programme managers understand the scale and type of visual impairment affecting the population they are responsible for. Once armed with this information, they can plan services in a way that best meets the need of the population. If the RAAB is repeated at a later date (after 8-10 years depending on the scale of service delivery) we should also be able to measure the reduction in visual impairment as a result of those services.
In 2017, we conducted a RAAB in programme districts in Muchinga, Zambia and Singida, Tanzania. This was followed by a RAAB in Nampula, Mozambique in 2018, which we were able to compare to the assessment conducted in 2011 to show that significant progress has been made in reducing avoidable visual impairment in that period. Another RAAB was conducted in Kogi state, Nigeria in 2020.
6 months each