Article Text

Measuring cataract surgical services in children: an example from Tanzania
  1. P Courtright1,
  2. T Williams1,2,
  3. C Gilbert3,
  4. E Kishiki1,
  5. S Shirima1,
  6. R Bowman3,4,
  7. S Lewallen1
  1. 1
    Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center College, Tumaini University, Moshi, Tanzania
  2. 2
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
  3. 3
    International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, London, UK
  4. 4
    Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  1. Dr P Courtright, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Tumaini University, PO Box 2254, Moshi, Tanzania; pcourtright{at}


Background: Childhood cataract is becoming increasingly recognised as a priority for reducing childhood blindness in developing countries. However, there have been no standard methods to monitor progress in providing this service, besides sporadic reports of surgeries performed.

Methods: Information on all children receiving surgery for congenital/developmental cataract in the two Child Eye Health Tertiary Facilities (CEHTF) in Tanzania was collected for 2004–6. An annual childhood cataract surgical rate (CCSR) was calculated per region. Male-to-female ratios were also generated by region of residence.

Results: Overall, the CCSR (2006) in Tanzania was 9.9 per million population, ranging from 32.3 for regions where CEHTF are located to 5.4 for regions not adjacent to CEHTF regions. There were, on average, 148 boys for every 100 girls receiving surgery.

Conclusion: Practical application of a measure of service delivery for childhood cataract has been useful in identifying gaps in utilisation of existing services by region as well as by gender. Testing in other settings would be helpful. An apparent inequity in use of services by girls requires attention.

Statistics from


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethical approval for the study was obtained from KCM College of Tumaini University.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.

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