Kenya, October 15 - World Sight Day is held on the second Thursday of October every year to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.
AMREF celebrated this year’s world sight day at Ilpolei in Kenya’s Laikipia district. Scores of community members turned up for the celebration and to attend the free eye clinic at the local health centre.
Forty year old Esther Kirubia was one of the patients who turned. She sat quietly waiting for her turn to see the doctor. Her eyes were puffy and sore.
The theme for this year’s world sight day; Gender and Eye health- equal access to care; reflects the predicament that women such as Esther and girls face when trying to access eye care services.
Preliminary studies have shown that in the least developed countries in the world, women utilize eye care services less than men.
Esther, a mother of six, had suffered with inverted eyelashes which would scratch her eyeballs and cause excruciating pain for ten years. Esther coped by using a nail cutter to remove the eye lashes from her eyes. Luckily Esther’s mother-in-law visited Nairobi and learned that Esther’s condition was treatable.
Esther visited one of AMREF’s eye clinics at the Nanyuki District Hospital where she was diagnosed with trachoma. She underwent surgery and received medication for free.
Although still recovering, Esther is now back to normal life. She is free from the excruciating pain and has been rescued from a potentially blinding condition.
The AMREF Trachoma project funded by the European Union through Sight Savers International began in 2007 and is currently implemented in Kenya’s Kajiado, Laikipia and Samburu districts which have the highest trachoma rates in Kenya.
The program is also being rolled out in partnership with the Ministry of Health and is committed to the World Health Organisation’s global vision to eliminate blindness and visual impairedness by 2020.
Just like Esther, over 600,000 people comprising nearly 80% of the district have been treated for active trachoma.
For more information:
AMREF Canada Communications Manager