Locals needing eye medical attention within Elgeyo Marakwet County have a reason to smile after the opening of an eye unit at the Iten County Referral Hospital (ICRH).
The unit was opened on Thursday, in an event that was also used to mark this year’s World Sight Day whose theme was ‘Love your eyes.’
The eye unit, a partnership project of Elgeyo Marakwet County and Operation Eyesight Universal which saw both inject Sh5 million and Sh4 million respectively was handed over to the health department.
Operation Eyesight Universal funded the first phase of the project which hosts an outpatient unit while the County will construct the inpatient section which will include the wards.
Operation Eyesight Universal is an international development organization working to eliminate avoidable blindness and restore eyesight in developing countries.
Speaking during the event, Dr. Marion Kurgat, an ophthalmologist at the hospital said; “The commonest cause of both blindness and visual impairment is cataract, accounting for 38% of all visual loss. At ICRH we see an average of 30 patients per day and most of the cases result from allergic conjunctivitis which is caused by dust, cold, and smoke.”
Alice Mwangi, Country Manager – Kenya Operation Eyesight Universal said it was unfortunate that most people lost their sight through avoidable blindness.
“This is what made us join hands with the County Government of Elgeyo Marakwet and I am happy to report that we have a working relationship that is slowly yielding results,” she said.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that there are more than 200,000 people living with blindness in Kenya, while it is estimated that 28 million people worldwide have severe vision impairment, with 750,000 of them being Kenyans.