Promoting Children’s eye health

Together with our CBM friends from Switzerland, our aim is to improve the care of eye diseases in children. The establishment of regional eye health centers in the large-scale country is also supported.

© CBM/Rietbrock

Madagascar in numbers

  • Surface
    587.041 km2
  • Population
    28.2 M.
  • GDP per capita (PPP)
    500 USD (LU: 72,712 USD)
  • Population (%) under national poverty line
    70.7% (LU: 17.5%)
  • Life expectancy
    68 years (LU: 82.3 years)
  • Literacy
    76.7% of the population >15 years
  • Physicians’ density
    0.2/1,000 inhabitants (LU: 3.0)
  • Human Development Index
    Rank 173 out of 189 countries

Project goal

This project improves the eye health of children affected with eye problems. Ophthalmologists, opticians and nurses can acquire the necessary knowledge to be able to perform eye operations on children. The project distributes the knowledge and partly finances the necessary operations or interventions for the children in need.

Why this project?

Health care in Madagascar is not yet well developed. Inadequate nutrition (vitamin A deficiency), injuries or eye diseases can lead to blindness in childhood. Cataracts in children are not uncommon in developing countries like Madagascar. There are many reasons for this: heredity, infection (e.g. rubella) or medication (e.g. steroids) taken by the mother during pregnancy, or consequences of eye injuries and severe eye inflammation. Children must have cataract surgery in good time, otherwise they will lose their sight forever.

Especially in paediatric ophthalmology, there are still far too few specialists and they only practice in a limited number of central hospitals. There is no provision for eye health care in rural areas. 40% of children with severe visual impairment could have been cured with adequate health care, but are left untreated.

How does the project help?

Ophthalmology for children is not a matter of course in Madagascar. The “Mahita” project improves the situation of affected children by drawing attention to the existing options relating to eye health.

CBM has been supporting the further development of paediatric ophthalmology and the training of health workers in Madagascar for years. Through the National Institute for Public Health, INSPC, CBM provides training for paediatricians so that they acquire the necessary knowledge about the specific requirements of children’s surgeries. They also organize multi-year training courses for opticians and nurses. There is always a special focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities and their access to the healthcare system.

In the new project phase from 2023, CBM supports training centers and clinics with instruments and consumables to enable operations. Furthermore, CBM supports access for people with disabilities and those from very poor families. The activities related to improved eye care take place in four regions of Madagascar.

Objectives of the project

From 2023 to 2025:

  • 15,400 children with eye diseases and their families benefit directly from this project thanks to adequate treatment measures in the health centers
  • 3 paediatric ophthalmologists, 40 ophthalmic nurses, 22 optometrists and 1 anaesthetic nurse are being trained as part of this project.
  • Up to 3,240 children from very low-income families will have eye surgery fees reduced and costs of glasses will be waived for those who can become visually impaired without correction.
  • 1,490 eye operations on children are performed and consumables are provided at reduced prices.

Our local partner

The main partner of the project is the Institut National de Santé Publique et Communautaire (INSPC). It reports to the Ministry of Health and works closely with the university clinics and regional hospitals. Established in 2002, it provides national education and training for healthcare professionals. As such, it offers continuous and specialized training. The INSPC also offers initial training tailored to the needs identified by the Ministry. The INSPC has been an implementing partner of the CBM for more than ten years.


CBM Switzerland is leading this project. CBM Luxembourg has supported the project in 2023 with EUR70,000 (approximately 12% of the Madagascar project budget.)  From 2024, in accordance with our financial resources, we aim to continue to support the project with a budget of EUR50,000.

Read more about the project in Madagascar here