Northern Kenya

Hundreds of Wajir residents regain eyesight at free medical camp

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The programme targeted all eight sub-counties of Wajir East, Wajir West, Wajir South, Wajir North, Buna, Tarbaj, Eldas, and Habaswein, offering free cataract screenings, eye checkups, and treatments.

Hundreds have regained their vision through free surgeries in the last four days at the Wajir County Referral Hospital, an exercise which concluded on Monday.

The programme targeted all eight sub-counties of Wajir East, Wajir West, Wajir South, Wajir North, Buna, Tarbaj, Eldas, and Habaswein, offering free cataract screenings, eye checkups, and treatments.

Daud Subane Ali, 84, who had been struggling with eye problems for five years, said his quality of life had been severely impacted.

"It felt like a constant cloud over my eyes, making everyday tasks nearly impossible," he told The Eastleigh Voice. "Thanks to this surgery, I can finally see my family again.

Wajir County residents attend a free eye treatment camp on July 8, 2024. (Photo: Yunis Dekow/ EV)

Abdille Omar, a resident of ICF, an establishment located three kilometres from Wajir Municipality along the Wajir-Moyale Road, had been suffering for six months.

Abdille said his vision had been deteriorating rapidly and that he feared it would worsen. He received treatment for his eye condition and was given spectacles and medication.

"With these new glasses and medication, I can finally see again," he said.

A blessing

Omar Adan Hassan from Qajaja 1 Town, said that after three years of eye problems, he resolved to travel to the county headquarters to receive services that helped him regain his sight.

Waayo Ahmed Liban, who had been living with eye problems for seven years, regained her vision through surgery.

"I can now see you," the woman from Leheley told The Eastleigh Voice.

Wajir County residents attend a free eye treatment camp on July 8, 2024. (Photo: Yunis Dekow/ EV)

Hussein Hassan termed the camp a blessing for people from poor backgrounds who couldn't afford proper eye care.

"The free treatments have changed lives. It is heartening to see so many people regain their sight and independence," he said.

Mama Bisharo BK, who runs a hotel at Qorahey market, said she had been losing vision slowly after a problem that began in her left eye and then spread to the right.

"The free camp has given me and other Wajir residents the chance to see again," she said.

Wajir County residents attend a free eye treatment camp on July 8, 2024. (Photo: Yunis Dekow/ EV)

Many cataract surgeries

Omar Bulle, the East Africa Field Manager for Beitulmaal, said the free eye clinic provided by their organisation is significant, helping those at risk of losing their vision.

Omar noted that during the four-day camp, the majority of the patients required cataract surgeries.

Cataracts, often associated with old age, are a medical condition where the eye lens progressively becomes opaque, leading to blurred vision or blindness.

"The free clinic has been crucial for residents with severe eye illnesses who lacked access to treatment within the sub-counties," he noted.

Omar Bulle, the East Africa Field Manager for Beitulmaal, speaks to the media during a free eye treatment camp in Wajir County on July 8, 2024. (Photo: Yunis Dekow/ EV)

Normally, many residents with eye diseases are forced to travel to neighbouring counties for medical services due to the lack of accessible healthcare facilities.

Omar said the camp aims to support individuals who cannot afford healthcare or access medical facilities. He encouraged residents to take advantage of health and eye camps, noting that all services are free.

He also pledged that their organisation would increase the number of camps and offer a wide range of services, including cataract surgeries, eye screenings, treatment for various eye conditions, assessment of visually impaired individuals, issuance of white canes, refraction services, prescription and dispensing of reading glasses, and health talks.

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