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Kajiado residents get modern eye unit

The County government of Kajiado, in partnership with Christian Blind Mission and Operation Eyesight, has launched a state-of-the-art eye unit at the Kajiado Referral Hospital.

In a speech read on his behalf by Kajiado Deputy Governor, Martin Moshisho, Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said that access to affordable, quality eye care services was integral to the achievement of universal health coverage, as good vision is part of being healthy and leading a productive life.

Governor Lenku remarked that the launch of the eye unit will ensure that the community has the best possible eye care, empowering them to continue living fulfilling lives.

“In the last year, routine hospital data ranks eye conditions as number five among the top ten causes of immobility, and with the launch of this facility, these cases will be adequately managed,” said Ole Lenku.

He added that in the spirit of promoting primary health care, eye care services have been promoted through community and school screening to include rural health facilities, leading to improved access to eye care across the county.

“So far, we have covered two out of the five sub-counties and have managed to screen over 250,000 people and treat over 25,000 for various eye ailments, including 700 pairs of spectacles given to school-going children,” said Lenku.

Dr. Michael Gichangi, the head of the ophthalmic services unit in the Ministry of Health, said that in every 1,000 people in Kajiado, 2 are blind, translating to 2,400 blind people in the county, which is a huge burden given that most of them are due to curable cataracts.

Dr. Gichangi noted that in the last year, through the Vision Impact project, they have screened over 200,000 people at the community level, and 30,000 have been found to have eye diseases that need treatment and may lead to loss of sight if the treatment is not provided.

On his part, Christian Blind Mission Country Director David Munyendo urged the Kajiado County government to recruit four more ophthalmologists, at least eight cataract surgeons, and the other workforce well distributed across the county to provide quality eye services to the residents.

Kajiado County Executive Committee Member for Health, Alex Kilowua, said that the eye unit has already offered services to 500 eye patients since it started its operations in July this year.

Kilowua added that the county is keen to strengthen eye care services at the sub-county level so that all sub-county hospitals have eye care services, unlike now when only Kajiado South and Central sub-counties have access.

The unit has been fully equipped with eye equipment, including optical coherence tomography, a visual field analyzer, and a fundus camera, among others. Medicines have also been provided at outreach and static sites for those with eye ailments.

By Diana Meneto and Sammy Rayiani

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