Govt to invest Ksh.3 billion in Eye, Hearing and Dental Care in 3 counties
The Ministry of Health is mobilizing Ksh.3 billion to develop and equip Centres of Excellence for Eye, Hearing and Dental Care.
This will be done at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, County Referral Hospitals of Mombasa, Nyeri, Meru and Kisii.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said health is an investment and called upon County governments to consider investing in eye health.
Out of 7.5 million persons, who are in need of eye care services, 250,000 are blind, while another 750,000 have difficulties in seeing clearly.
“This VIP, which feeds into the National Eye Health strategy contributes further to our wider National Health Sector Plan, focusing on Health Systems Strengthening National Vision 2030 economic strategy and ultimately to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Kagwe in a speech read by Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr. Rashid Aman.
Kagwe said that out of the 10.4 million children enrolled in Primary schools in Kenya, about 100,000 of them have significant refractive errors requiring spectacles with only about 37,000, who are able to access spectacles to enable them engage meaningfully in schooling.
The CS further projected that an input of Ksh.2.2 billion through the Vision impact project, shall bring back Ksh.8.8 billion profit equivalent in the project period if resources are used efficiently.
“It is clear in my mind that investing in eye health is cost effective and will always be required, now that our ageing population is growing,” said Kagwe.
He appealed to all Kenyans to take advantage of the availability of eye health resources in the health system, to ensure that all eye health needs are met.
“If you have difficulties in seeing the blackboard for students, if you are diabetic and even if you have no vision problems, you all need to have eyes examined and appropriate treatment given, and it is now available. If our doctors recommend cataract surgery for you, they now have the required equipment to provide high quality surgery,” said CS.
Kagwe noted that the government is committed to increasing coverage of good sight-restoring cataract surgery by 30 percent and increasing coverage of good vision care services for refractive errors by 40 percent.
He also commended the Peek Technology, a smart phone mobile application, easy to use by non-medical workers to screen school children and community members for eye diseases and even link them to the very scarce eye specialists, having been studied and validated in Trans Nzoia County and found to provide a threefold increase in patient’s access to eye care.
The main causes of vision impairment include age-related cataracts and refractive errors including short-sightedness, and long-sightedness, common among school-going children with Cataract Surgery, is one of the most cost-effective health interventions which transforms life.
The VIP aims at improving integrated health systems for eye health, including Community and School screening for eye diseases and conditions, provision of spectacles for children, sight restoration interventions like cataract surgery for the blind and rehabilitation of those that cannot have their sight restored.
Over 2.2 billion persons in the world have vision impairment, including the blind and about half of these have impairments that could be prevented or addressed.