The Government through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Amref Health Africa, have launched a five-day Mass Drug Administration (MDA) exercise against trachoma, to all residents of Samburu County.
Speaking, today, during the MDA launch in Maralal town, Perpetual Nyakundi from the Ministry of Health said that trachoma is a common eye infection mainly found in Arid and Semi-arid Lands areas such as Samburu and if it is not treated early, leads to irreversible blindness.
“The disease is prevalent in dry dusty areas and in poor personal hygiene and environmental conditions, therefore, all residents of Samburu are prone to trachoma,” she said.
Nyakundi noted that the Government has made strides in reducing trachoma in Samburu County, saying that its currently affecting 6.2 percent of children aged between one and nine years, which he noted is a reduction from 35 percent in 2004 and the late stage of the disease in those aged 15 years and above has decreased to 0.44 percent from 6 percent in 2004.
She advised the residents to maintain high level of hygiene by washing their face, practicing proper waste disposal and use latrines, as well as seek medical attention from government hospitals in case of eye infections.
“The early stages of trachoma may be confused with other eye infections, but in the late stages the eye lashes turn inward rubbing the eyeball, leading to pain, tearing and blindness. So it is advisable to visit a hospital for treatment of any eye infections,” she advised.
Amref Health Africa’s Eye care and Trachoma Program Coordinator, Solomon Mwaniki, said health systems, including community health structures have been engaged in ensuring many people have accessed the trachoma drugs while at home.
“We have trained health workers and community health volunteers across the County. In every village we have teams moving door to door administering the drugs and our target is to reach out to everyone,” he said.
Philip Sinei, a clinician at Samburu County Referral Hospital, said the County has received enough Trachoma drugs to administer to every single resident.
He urged those who would not have accessed the drugs at their home within five days, to visit the County’s Government health facilities within a period of one month.
By Robert Githu