Blindness in Kenya
Although Kenya is the most industrially developed country in East Africa, approximately half of the population continues to live in poverty. The country has been struggling to provide access to health care to its citizens, and only about 20 percent of Kenyans actually have health insurance. This situation is worsened by a lack of health care facilities and doctors. With less than one ophthalmologist for every half a million residents, the country is unable to reach all patients needing eye care. Rural areas, which account for 80% of the population, are particularly underserved.
According to the WHO, almost a quarter of a million Kenyans suffer from blindness; 43% of these cases are caused by cataracts, an avoidable and often treatable condition. Other leading causes of blindness include chronic blindness include cataract, glaucoma, age-related degeneration, diabetes, trachoma, and pediatric eye conditions.
Blindness is also expected to rise in the coming decade, due to an aging population. For these reasons, organizations like SEE have become extremely important in increasing accessibility and availability of eye care services.
SEE in Kenya
SEE seeks to not only treat people suffering from blindness, but also strengthen and broaden the pool of eye health professionals in Kenya. We work in multiple locations across the country to provide eye care for those in need. In Juga, we collaborate with an organization called the Gift of Sight to provide care at the Kalimoni Mission Hospital. We also partner with Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Sabatia Eye Hospital in Wodanga, and in-country ophthalmologists in Nyamira. In 2017, SEE’s team of volunteer doctors have performed approximately 200 vital eye surgeries, and examined 700 patients in need.