Ministry of Health unveils app to identify eye problems in schoolchildren »Capital News

NAIROBI, Kenya October 14 – The Ministry of Health has rolled out a smartphone app that helps identify children with refractive errors in schools.

Chief Administrative Secretary of Health Rashid Aman said the PEEK portable eye exam kit will be used by teachers in educational institutions to screen for eye diseases and identify those with problems.

“Once trained, teachers are able to refer identified children for further examination by an eye health professional,” Aman said Thursday when Kenya joined the world in commemoration of World Childhood Day. view.

Aman said myopia and farsightedness are usually managed with glasses and frequently affect children in school.

He added that failure to answer them hampers quality schooling and learning among schoolchildren.

The Health CAS pointed out that around 7.5 million people in Kenya suffer from eye diseases and conditions, which require eye care, adding that it is unfortunate that only around 20% are able to access services. eye care.

He noted that among the 250,000 blind people in Kenya, about half of the cases are due to age-related cataracts which are treatable and curable, restoring sight in over 90% of cases.

Statistics show that globally, around one billion people suffer from visual disturbances that could be treated to reverse or prevent visual disturbances, but which have not yet been treated.

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Aman further said that the spread of noncommunicable diseases also puts patients at risk of losing their sight.

“Another emerging epidemic is that of complications from non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Of the 475,000 people with diabetes, around 50,000 have complications from diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) who can claim sight at any time…. a very sad situation… and one might wonder why they haven’t been identified yet, ”Aman said.

He added that other conditions contributing to visual impairment like glaucoma have yet to be understood and appropriate prevention and treatment measures established.

Aman said the psychological, social and economic impacts of sight loss are significant and could contribute to social stigma, adding that if left untreated, the person becomes an economic burden on society.

And in an effort to tackle visual impairment and poverty, the World Health Organization has come up with a new strategy known as Integrated People-Centered Eye Care.

“The strategy calls for a greater emphasis on community engagement, health promotion and disease prevention, in addition to traditional curative and rehabilitation services. The strategy is very strong for communities who take eye care under their responsibility, proactively show up for exams, even when they have no symptoms or when they have common symptoms like itchy eyes ”, a- he declared.

He said the Ministry of Health, national and county governments, together with other partners, have put in place an appropriate workforce and infrastructure to enable the delivery of quality eye health services. at the county level.

“While we are doing this, we appreciate that resources, including manpower, are very scarce. Therefore, our appeal to members of the public is to take the initiative and have their eyes checked regularly so that if they are suffering from any treatable conditions, they receive treatment early enough as it will give better results, and that is. much cheaper, ”he added. .

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