Hundreds of Kwale County residents’ flocked four outreach clinics Friday to benefit from subsidized vision health services aimed at eye screening and treatment of various conditions related to sight.
The clinics were organized by the Kwale Eye Centre ahead of 2017’s World Sight Day.
Services were offered at the centre’s facilities at Magandia, Tiwi, Shiraz, Bofu and Kuranze in what was dubbed the Miracle Week.
According to a cataract surgeon, Dr. Albert Masua, who led the outreach which started on Monday, more than 1,000 people including school children were screened.
Those diagnosed with eye ailments were treated, others operated on, while glasses were issued to deserving cases.
This comes as a great relief to many locals as nurses and clinical officers continue with their strike which has dragged on for months paralyzing services in public hospitals across the country.
Dr. Masua said 30 per cent of those screened had cataract and 27 per cent diabetes, which he noted was one of the major causes of eye complications in the region.
The county is grappling with a high increase in diabetic patients of which 80 per cent develop eye problems, he said, while urging diabetics and those with blood pressure to seek eye checkups once per year.
He mentioned some of the challenges in the provision of eye care services in the region as over-reliance on home remedies and traditional medicines and irrational eye surgery fears.
Fear mongering about eye surgery is too common around here and this makes some people to shy away from our services leading to severe complications in the process, said Dr. Masua.
He said there are myths and misconceptions about surgery among locals such as that one’s ailing eyes are replaced with those of a baboon during surgery.
Some are scared of surgery because they erroneously think they will go blind while others believe their eyes are gouged out, placed somewhere, fixed and sewn back in their sockets, he added.
One woman, Ms. Rukia Abdallah, 70, who had come all the way from Mariakani, thanked the centre for correcting low vision in one of her eyes, a condition she had lived with since childhood.
I am glad my sight has been restored after many years of suffering, said Abdullah, who said she had resorted to self-treatment which never worked.
Besides Kwale, the centre also serves patients from Mombasa, Kilifi and even Tanzania, according to its administrator Verena Ndunda.
She said that they offer quality services at highly subsidized charges using modern eye diagnostic equipment and technologies.
On average the facility handles 70 to 100 patients daily, she added.
Source: Kenya News Agency