REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Kenya integrates eye care within Primary health care. Nairobi (KENYA) October 9, 2019

 Provision of effective and accessible eye care services is key for effectively controlling visual impairment including blindness.
To strengthen eye care services Kenya is accelerating training of all eye health cadres and using technology in eye health, Dr. Micheal Gichangi Head of Ophthalmology services
unit says.
Speaking during the World Sight Day to disseminate results of the capacity for treatment of eye diseases from diabetes in Kenya. today Dr. Gichangi said the government has adopted use of Portable eye examination Kit (PEEK), a mobile phone technology used to screen for visual Impairment especially in schools and Fundus photography used for screening diabetic patients for complication of Retinopathy.
“With the upsurge of Diabetes, we are putting in place measures to ensure that all have eye examination just like the vital signs, to be taken routinely before the patient goes through the review,” he noted.
“When we talk of training we see the need to improve the skills of the primary health workers as part of Primary Health Care,” he said.
The Ministry he added is working with county governments to ensure that the primary health facilities have some basic tools and skills required to evaluate vision first at the primary level facilities.
“This is the only way we shall be able to identify and intervene early for persons with visual impairment in the journey of UHC,” he said.
Kenya has about 7.5 million people who are in need of interventions to prevent loss of vision, restore vision or need rehabilitation to improve performance.
Over 75% of visual impairment result from preventable causes and many of the cases like cataract are treatable and possible to restore sight, he said.
Although over 65% of visually impaired people are over 50 years, interventions targeting child eye health associated with schooling and development cannot be underestimated, he argued.
Dr. Gichangi also acknowledged  that out of the 7.5 million who need eye health services, only 21.3% (1.6 million) are able to access eye health from both public and private facilities.
This year’s world sight day theme is “Vision First.”

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