May 18, 2022

Health Ministry launches Vision Impact initiative to provide integrated systems for eye health

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The Ministry of Health has launched the Vision Impact Project which aims at improving integrated health systems for eye health.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said that this will including Community and School screening for eye diseases and conditions.
This Vision Impact project, which feeds into the National eye health strategy contributes further to the wider National Health Sector Plan, focusing on Health Systems Strengthening National vision 2030 economic strategy, and ultimately to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The investment whose input is ksh.2.2billion through the Vision impact project, is projected to bring back 8.8 billion profit equivalent in the project period, if the resources are used efficiently,” the CAS said.
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He disclosed 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. It is only about 37,000, who are able to access spectacles, to enable them engage meaningfully in schooling.
“Provision of simple & quality spectacles will be a solution to school going children, who have challenges in seeing the blackboard,” he said.
The global targets for eye health indicators for the year 2030 were identified last year during the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland focusing on two main conditions contributing to vision impairment , that is Cataract and Refractive errors.
During the World Health Assembly member states committed to increase coverage of good sight restoring cataract surgery by 30% and to increase coverage of good vision care services for refractive errors by 40 per cent.
“I am delighted to note that the Ministry of Health has already adopted these strategic directions in the National Eye Health Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and in an integrated health systems approach,” Aman said.
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The CAS noted that as recommended in the World Vision Report -2019, eye health should be delivered in an integrated manner & beyond the health sector. “The Ministry of Education is on board, bringing in the context of schooling and good eye sight. They are also working with the Department of Special programmes (the ageing) Vision impact project, to provide rehabilitation and ensure that those whose sight cannot be restored are able to engage in social and economic activities,” he said.
Dr Aman said the Ministry of Health is mobilizing financial resources up to about ksh.3 billion to develop and equip Centres of Excellence for Eye, Hearing & Dental Care at the MTRH, Mombasa County Referral, Nyeri County Referral, Meru County Referral & Kisii County Referral Hospitals.
“These centers would be part of regional training and research centers for these specialized fields & urged the county Governments to rethink health as an investment, and consider investing in eye health,” he said.
He appealed to all Kenyans to take advantage of the availability of these eye health resources in our health system, to ensure that all eye health needs are met.
Worldwide about 2.2 billion persons have vision impairment, including the blind, and about half of these have impairment that could be prevented or addressed.
In Kenya out of the 7.5 million persons who are in need of eye care services, 250,000 are blind, and another 750,000, with difficulties in seeing clearly.
The main causes of vision impairment include age related cataract and refractive errors (which include short sightedness, long sightedness, common among school going children). Another common problem is difficulties in reading, associated also with ageing.
The Ministry would like to thank the German Government through Ambassador Annett Gunther, the entire Christofel blinded Mission, for this support to our National Eye Health Strategic Plan, which contributes towards Universal Health Coverage and ultimately to Vision 2030.

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