In June, we highlighted our work in India and Ghana. This month, we’re excited to showcase our work in Kenya and Zambia. Read on to learn about the incredible difference our donors made in Kenya in 2015, and check back here next week for highlights from Zambia.
The 2015 year saw tremendous growth in our Kenya programs, especially in our programs benefitting children. Together with our partner Seeing is Believing and other eye health organizations, we worked on an innovative Child Eye Health project that focused on improving access to eyeglasses, providing screening, treatment and referrals, health education and advocacy.
We’re proud to announce that in 2015, over 90,000 children were screened for eye problems at our partner health facilities while another 118,197 children were screened in schools in the counties of Narok and Kitale. Children with minor conditions were treated, while more complicated cases were referred to tertiary facilities. The number of students treated rose remarkably, which can be attributed to screening and outreach, advocacy, close supervision and monitoring.
In 2013, we helped develop a smartphone-based tool called PEEK (Portable Eye Examination Kit) which was trialed in Kitale district in 2015. The campaign permitted 21,000 children across 50 schools to be screened for vision problems by 25 teachers in only nine days, with a resulting 900 children detected with visual impairment. The successful trial has led to increased funding from Seeing is Believing to further implement the program, which will include screening the remaining 350 schools in the region and training teachers. We’ll continue to work with our Kitale hospital team to ensure quality treatment for the increased number of students who are likely to visit the eye unit after screening and referral.
Along with Kitale Eye Unit, we continued to strengthen and upgrade our partnerships with Narok Eye Unit and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, as well as satellite clinics in five counties. All eight of our partner hospitals received ophthalmic equipment in 2015, thanks to our funding through Seeing is Believing. Additionally, we partnered with the local government and Seeing is Believing to build the Uasin Gishu Eye Unit. This construction is expected to be completed in 2016.
We supported nine people to attend higher diploma courses in ophthalmology – a huge leap towards strengthening human resources in the region. In addition, 228 community health extension workers and 338 community health volunteers were trained in primary eye care, which is critical to identifying people with eye problems and referrals.
And finally, we continued to fight the blinding disease called trachoma in Narok and West Pokot counties. In 2015, with support from The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, we conducted 524 trachomatous trichiasis (TT) surgeries and trained 170 community health workers as TT case finders. A Mass Drug Administration of antibiotics was conducted, which reached 88 percent of the population in these remote areas.
Our generous donors also funded the rehabilitation of five boreholes in West Pokot, which bring safe, clean water to approximately 5,250 households. The boreholes are a key element of the World Health Organization-approved SAFE strategy, which is proven to eliminate trachoma.
For more details on our sight-saving projects in Africa and India, read our 2015 Report to Donors. To help us give the gift of sight to even more people in 2016, please make a donation. Thank you for your support – for all the world to see!