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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid