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Kenya strives to eradicate trachoma, which causes visual impairment | Voice of America

Nairobi-Kenyan authorities are working to eradicate trachoma, an infectious disease that is a major cause of blindness in Africa. About 7 million people in central Kenya are at risk for the disease.

Elizabeth Partoti, sitting outside a clinic in Kaziad County, Kenya, pretends to be blind and stares at a dry, fragile space outside a medical facility. In minutes, the surgeon will perform orthodontic surgery to make women over the age of 70 clearly visible for the first time in more than 10 years.

She is one of the thousands of people in Kenya who are blind or gradually losing sight due to trachoma.

“My eyes have bothered me because I’m old,” she said. “Eyelashes always get into my eyes, so I cause a lot of pain. My granddaughter helps to physically remove them with her fingers, which is very painful.”

Trachoma is caused by bacteria that attack the inner surface of the eyelids.

Dr. Peter Ecuum, an ophthalmologist performing trachoma surgery in Kajiad County, says that trachoma-induced blindness can be prevented, but cannot be undone unless treated in time.

“Every time I blink, my eyelashes rub against the cornea, peeling off the first layer of the cornea over time, causing ulcers,” he explained. “The ulcer is very painful, but at the end of the day the ulcer heals and leaves scars.”

Its repeated scarring of the cornea of ​​the eye ultimately impairs vision and often leads to irreversible blindness.

Approximately 7 million people live in 12 counties in central Kenya, where trachoma is endemic due to its dry climate and idyllic and nomadic lifestyle. Flies in the area help spread the disease.

Currently, about 53,000 people are infected with the disease.

Like other countries affected by trachoma, Kenya wanted to eliminate trachoma by the World Health Organization’s goal of 2020. The target date has now been moved to 2023. Dr. Ernest Barasa, National Trachoma Coordinator of Kenya, said: .. This is 5,000 people in 12 counties where trachoma is endemic and need urgent surgery to avoid blindness. “

According to experts, in order to eradicate trachoma, people in areas susceptible to the disease need to take greater precautions.

Most of the endangered communities are nomads and sometimes live with livestock.

“Flies breed for feces and urine, and now that flies are breeding, bacteria are carried from children to their mothers each time they are released on their faces.”

Kenya’s plans to defeat Trachoma rely on donors to fund detection, treatment and prevention programs.

Kenya says the disease can be eliminated without more contributions.

Kenya strives to eradicate trachoma, which causes visual impairment | Voice of America

Source link Kenya strives to eradicate trachoma, which causes visual impairment | Voice of America

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