Saturday, October 30, 2010

NGO helps fight eye disease

The International Centre for Eye Education (ICEE) of South Africa has donated health equipment worth Sh45 million to the Mlandizi health centre in Kibaha district, Coast Region. The donation seeks to improve treatment of eye ailments and related diseases for residents of the area. The NGO’s donation was received recently by the chief medical officer of Kibaha district, Dr Victorina Ludovick. The assistance included special lens, spectacles and a state of the art machine for examining eye ailments. The representative of ICEE in Tanzania, Mr Aden Mashayo said the donation was given mainly to help treat elders, who mostly suffer from eye diseases. Apart from commending the South African NGO, Dr Ludovick also called on other organizations to emulate ICEE in contributing towards healthcare improvement in the country.
The handover of the donation went hand in hand with the opening of an eye clinic at the health centre. After the function, 800 persons were examined to see if they had eye problems and out of them, 130 received spectacles, while 611 were treated for various eye-related ailments and 59 were earmarked for eye operation. Since 1998, when ICEE was founded in Australia, it has been developing and implementing sustainable solutions for improved eye care access. The NGO collaborates with governments, communities and international non-government organisations to develop long term solutions by investing in local eye care education, professional education, appropriate service delivery systems and research to ensure sustainable eye care in underserved communities. At least 670 million people, mostly in the developing world, are blind or vision impaired simply because they don’t have access to a basic eye examination and a pair of glasses. Of those at least 153 million suffer from treatable blindness or vision impairment at distance and a further 517 million due to near sightedness, all through uncorrected refractive error. “This unnecessary disability has a major impact on people’s lives. The link between poverty and avoidable blindness is indisputable. Uncorrected vision impairment causes profound economic disadvantages to individuals, their families and societies. People living with uncorrected vision impairment are more likely to be excluded from basic education, suffer from isolation and have fewer employment opportunities,” ICEE notes on its website.
“Many of the corrective measures available to those living with vision impairment are often inaccessible to those in low socio-economic groups. Access to health care and education are crucial in lifting people and communities out of poverty,” it adds.


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