The most important project measures
Tackling preventable blindness in Kenya.
With the support of our partners, health systems in Kenya are being strengthened so that more than 6 million people have better access to eye care.
On April 21, 2022, Vision Aid Suisse and its partners launched an ambitious new four-year project in Kenya to combat preventable visual impairment and blindness. The partners are mostly regional health care institutions. The Vision Impact Project (VIP), which provides assistance in five Kenyan counties to date, enables comprehensive access to high-quality, inclusive, and publicly accessible eye health services.
The project ensures that all people have access to effective eye care and that those who are permanently affected by visual impairment have the support and opportunities they need. To achieve this, aid focuses on creating inclusive, sustainable, and locally owned eye health services and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (known as NTDs).
Of the 7.5 million people in Kenya who suffer from vision loss and vision impairment problems, only 1.6 million have access to effective eye health services. In doing so, 75% of these eye diseases could be treated to prevent vision loss. Unfortunately, these people have no support and must live with the fact that their illness affects their opportunities for education, work or community integration.
Innovations such as the smartphone-based vision screening app Peek Vision are giving non-medical personnel such as community workers and teachers the ability to screen people. The technology supports eye screening and referral of patients in regions of the world where such support is almost impossible and resources are limited. On this basis, it is expected that at least 60% of the population and at least 80% of the school children in the project regions will be screened during the project period!
The VIP project, which focuses on health systems strengthening, is in line with the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s National Strategic Plan for Eye Health, Kenya’s Vision 2030, WHO priorities, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In the final phase of the project, a gradual handover of areas of responsibility to local providers will ensure that after the project ends, communities will continue to receive the services they need at well-equipped health centers close to their homes, and will be referred to specialty eye care facilities only when needed.
Benjamin Oyangi has been living with cataracts in Kenya. Although his income came merely from occasional unskilled labor, he also had to care for his nieces Rael Kageha and Sheila Kabarika. Since his vision problems began, he has been supported by his mother, Rael Mmono. A counseling center near him, sponsored by the VIP project, was finally able to help him. The outreach team examined him and referred him to Sabatia Eye Hospital, where he finally got help.
*Benjamin Oyangi is a beneficiary of an older aid project in Kenya, as the VIP project cannot yet produce up-to-date portraits due to its recent implementation.