The County Government of Uasin Gishu in collaboration with, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Operation Eye Sight Universal has launched an eye care centre for primary school pupils.
The programme is aimed at screening eye sight related problems to pupils and offering them free treatment, in a bid to restoring sight and preventing blindness in Uasin Gishu Primary schools.
Speaking during the launch, Dr Fatma Some, on behalf of the Board Chairperson, Operation Eye Sight Universal, reiterated that they are committed to offer eye care problems as they believe with healthy eyes and good visual, pupils are in a better position to achieve their dreams and interact freely with others in bettering their social life.
“This is one of our life transforming projects and the School Eye Health Program, is aimed at solving persistent eye problems that pupils face. When people suffer from poor eye health, their quality of life is diminished and the cycle of poverty is perpetuated,” said Dr Fatuma.
She reiterated that when eye problems are addressed early enough through screening, this gives pupils courage to work hard and to be smart in actualizing their dreams through good academic performance.
The Dr. Some added that pupils have the right to sight, right to education and right to a self-fulfilling environment.
Through this program, she said, they have actively involved teachers and so far, they have trained 20 teachers who have so far screened 40,000 learners out of which 2,200 have been referred for specialized treatment at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), five have undergone specialized surgery successfully and 95 have received free eye glasses.
The County Executive Member for Health, Uasin Gishu County, Dr. Evelyne Rotich, reiterated that their collaboration with Operation Eye Sight Universal, began in March, 2016 which saw a great number of people seeking eye healthcare services, rising tremendously.
“About 110, 000 persons have so far been screened in three sub counties, out of the six sub counties, 70,000 have received various forms of interventions, ranging from surgeries to optical services.
The Operation Eye Sight Universal support, has been vital in promoting eye healthcare in the County and will have a lasting impact at the end,” said Rotich.
Dr. Michael Gichangi, Ophthalmologist at Ministry of Health indicated it is crucial to invest in restoring Eyesight of citizens.
“We support programs that provide quality care to all in the communities and regardless of age or gender. When people receive urgently the much needed eye health care, the entire communities become healthier and more resilient,” Dr Gichangi noted.
He said that the Ministry is committed to ensure all the pupils in Uasin Gishu, are screened and assisted through Operation Eye Sight Universal programme in creating demand for the services, by encouraging eye health-seeking behavior and empowering communities to take responsibility for their eye health needs.
Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago, pointed out that such programs add up in promoting healthcare among citizens and encourage people to seek treatment through necessary assistance and support, noting that many people are suffering from eye sight problems.
The Governor said that eye screening services should be made easily available to all, particularly in the rural and unreachable areas.
“As the Chairman of North Rift Economic Block (NOREB), I request the Ministry of Education and that of Health to take such programs seriously and support the program, not only in this county, but across all the counties in Kenya. I’ll ask all the governors to adopt this program. It is one that has positive impact in the region and country at large,” said Mandago.
Operation Eyesight is an international development organization, founded in 1963. It is committed to the realization of sustainable eye health treatment, blindness prevention and community development to create a better life for people now and into the future.
By Hassan Adan Ali and May Kimeu