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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

update President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs