New project launched to fight blindness

trachoma, blindness, catarct, preventable blindness
Trachoma is an infectious eye disease and one of the leading causes of blindness globally.
Photo credit: POOL

What you need to know:

  • The three-year project dubbed ‘Vision for Kenya: Improving Eye Health Through Stronger Systems’ that will jointly be implemented by The Fred Hollows Foundation and Turkana County government aims at combating avoidable blindness through treatment, surgeries and eye examinations.

A new trachoma and cataract project has been rolled out in Turkana County to strengthen eye care services.

The three-year project dubbed ‘Vision for Kenya: Improving Eye Health Through Stronger Systems’ that will jointly be implemented by The Fred Hollows Foundation and Turkana County government aims at combating avoidable blindness through treatment, surgeries and eye examinations.

Trachoma is an infectious eye disease and one of the leading causes of blindness globally. If left untreated, it can develop into trichiasis; a painful condition where the eyelids turn inwards and the eyelashes rub against the surface of the eye, leading to irreversible blindness.

Turkana Health Executive Jane Ajele said the project covering all the seven sub-counties will boost county government’s effort to eliminate trachoma in Turkana West and Loima, which are high burden sub-counties.

County Health Chief Officer Malcolm Lochodo said Turkana was initially among counties with high cases of trachoma caused by bacterium chlamydia trachomatis and cataract.

“Reduction in cases is as a result of investment on surgery, antibiotics and facial cleanliness through partnerships with development partners dealing with water, sanitation and hygiene programmes,” he said.

Michael Senge, a health worker at Kakuma Sub-County Hospital, said the project will be a relief to Natiir 1 and Natiir 2 villages on the outskirts of Kakuma town, where the number of villagers going blind is alarming.

The health worker observed that houseflies are the major causes of eye infections in the villages.

Ms Leah Nasipan,  who is suffering from trachoma, said many of the patients have been victims of widespread misconception that drugs or surgeries will make them permanently blind.

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