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Smartphone project detecting eye problems launched

A project dubbed Vision Impact that aims to improve eye health among Kiambu County residents has been launched in Lari Sub-county.

The project targets to undertake eye screening for more than 1.5 million Kiambu residents in the next four years through community outreaches by public health officers and community health volunteers (CHV).

The Ministry of Health, County Government of Kiambu, Christian Blind Mission, and PCEA Kikuyu Hospital are the main partners behind the project.

Speaking during the launch held at Kimende primary School in Kijabe ward, Kiambu County Heath CECM Dr. Joseph Murega said the project incorporates a new technology that uses a mobile phone to detect eye problems.

“The department in conjunction with Christian Blind Mission and PCEA Kikuyu hospital has trained Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on how to use Innovations like the smartphone-based vision screening app and Peek Vision to screen patients and thereafter act as a linkage to facilities by identifying residents that require medical attention,” cited Dr. Murega.

He said the trained CHVs drawn from the four wards will play a big role in identification, referral, and sensitization among other things of patients who may require eye care or treatment. Also trained were chiefs and Sub Chiefs from Lari Sub County.

“The project will start in Lari and Thika Sub-Counties and will be rolled out to the other 10 Sub-Counties through school and house-to-house outreach as ophthalmic health is cascaded to the primary level,” added Dr. Murega.

On his part Kimbu Governor Kimani Wamatangi lauded the project and promised the Community health volunteers allowances and also work uniforms to facilitate the noble work they are doing.

“Eye care is a primary health care and my administration will work with other stakeholders to ensure that eye screening is made available at the community level as this will prevent unnecessary sight loss due to late diagnosis,” said Governor Wamatangi.

According to Christian blind Mission (CBM) 7.5 million people in Kenya have problems related to vision loss and impairment and only 1.6 million of them have access to effective eye care services. The Mission states 75% of these eye diseases can be treated to prevent sight loss.

The Vision impact project is aligned with the Ministry of Health’s National Eye Health Strategic plan and Kenya’s Vision 2030. It emphasizes creating access to inclusive equitable eye care systems

By Grace Naishoo

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