News / Health

Doctors Aim to Reduce Trachoma in Kenya

A woman washes her face. Facial cleanliness is one way to prevent Trachoma in Kajiado, Kenya. (Mohammed Yusuf/VOA)
A woman washes her face. Facial cleanliness is one way to prevent Trachoma in Kajiado, Kenya. (Mohammed Yusuf/VOA)
Health workers in Kenya say more than 60,000 people are living with trachoma, an infectious eye disease that causes blindness if not treated early.  But doctors are working to bring an outbreak of the disease under control in Kajiado, a remote rural village in southern Kenya.

A local trachoma monitor in Kajiado is teaching a group of women how to prevent the eye disease and how, and where, to get treatment.

Lester Mortai is well known in this area for his work fighting trachoma. He travels through villages, telling people the best ways to avoid getting the painful disease.

Trachoma monitor Lester Mortai teaches a group women how to prevent Trachoma at household level in Kajiado, Kenya. (Mohammed Yusuf/VOA)Trachoma monitor Lester Mortai teaches a group women how to prevent Trachoma at household level in Kajiado, Kenya. (Mohammed Yusuf/VOA)
x
Trachoma monitor Lester Mortai teaches a group women how to prevent Trachoma at household level in Kajiado, Kenya. (Mohammed Yusuf/VOA)
Trachoma monitor Lester Mortai teaches a group women how to prevent Trachoma at household level in Kajiado, Kenya. (Mohammed Yusuf/VOA)
“At household level I encourage them face cleanness and even the environment.  [In] the case of trachoma, the main agent is the flies. We also encourage those who sleep [with] animals around them to separate themselves from animals,” said Mortai.

Trachoma is characterized by the swelling of the eyelids and scarring of the outer surface of the eye, the cornea.  Repeated infections make the eye lashes turn in and scratch the cornea, causing pain and, eventually, blindness.

According to the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), more than 7,000 people in Kajiado suffer from trachoma.  The disease primarily afflicts impoverished pastoral communities.

Ngeyan Nge is one of four trachoma sufferers with an advanced stage of the disease. To avoid blindness, Nge will undergo surgery to correct the positioning of her eye lashes. The mother of six says she decided to seek medical treatment after a long time living with pain.

She said she was now hopeful about the future, even though in the beginning she was opposed to the surgery. She changed her mind, adding, "after continuous advice from people, and also no matter what medicine I use the pain won’t go away.  After the surgery, I hope I will be able to see well and carry my daily activities.”

One of the "flying doctors" from AMREF, John Soine, travels to remote areas of Kenya every week to operate on those with serious cases of trachoma. He said the disease was easily treatable if caught early.

“If these people with active infections are not treated, they end up developing complications whereby the eyelashes start facing inwards and start rubbing on the eye ball.  And at this stage one may lose vision. And the loss of vision in trachoma is irreversible,” he said.

Thirty-nine-year-old Kadogo Salaash had almost lost her vision to the disease more than five years ago. At first she was doubtful that surgery could help her, but eventually she relented.

“When I decided to go for the eye surgery, I was worried and uncomfortable,” she said.  “I thought after the surgery I would not see again. [But now it’s the opposite; I am confident, happy and I can do my work well.”

Health workers said in the last five years active trachoma prevalence has dropped by 11 percent, largely due to vigorous education campaigns and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

The next goal is to reduce active trachoma prevalence to under 10 percent, with hopes of eliminating the disease entirely by 2020.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid