An innovative cataract project in Cameroon, funded through a Development Impact Bond [DIB], exceeded its year three targets during 2020 despite the unprecedented disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cameroon Cataract Bond, launched in 2018, brings together public and private investors, health donors, and eye care delivery experts. A pay-for-performance loan (also known as a development impact bond or DIB) supports Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute (MICEI) to provide as many as 18,000 high-quality cataract surgeries in Cameroon over five years. MICEI has a strong focus on providing surgeries to low-income patients for free or at a subsidised rate in addition to its full-paying customers. The DIB will also help the hospital become self-sufficient in five years with plans to develop into a regional centre of excellence to help build capacity in the region.
In 2020 the Cataract Bond supported the hospital to complete almost 1,200 cataract surgeries, bringing the three-year total to 6,374 surgeries, ahead of the 5,600-surgery target. Surgery quality exceeded World Health Organization standards, with 81% having a good outcome the day after surgery, up from 67% in year one. As a result, full outcome payments will be made for year three targets and investors will earn maximum interest in year three.
Despite COVID’s extreme disruption, MICEI continued serving patients with only a two-week interruption to operations. Most significantly impact were outreach camps, which were forced to stop for seven months because of government restrictions on gathering sizes.