Kenya’s health ministry on Friday launched a 1 million U.S. dollar program that is aimed at eliminating trachoma from the country.
Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu said 14,579 people who are affected by the disease will have their eyes operated under the program.
“We had conducted eye surgeries to 41,501 people who had sight-threatening trachoma complications in the past 10 years,” Mailu said during the launch of the program in Nairobi.
Trachoma is a infectious disease and one of the leading causes of blindness in Kenya among people living in harsh and hard to reach areas due to limited availability of water and poor sanitation.
Active trachoma prevalence in Kajiado County in southwest Kenya alone stood at 28.1 percent, far above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended threshold of 10 percent.
“We engaged in a coordinated intensive intervention that involved surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement (SAFE),” Mailu said.
He said there has been a significant drop in active trachoma that “shows that Kenya is on the path to eliminating trachoma.”
According to a 2004 study, trachoma is a major problem inflicting arid parts of the country.
Some regions, like Samburu in northwestern Kenya, have a prevalence of 35 percent for active trachoma and 6 percent for blinding trachoma. Nationwide, the rates are 10 percent and 1 percent respectively. Enditem