Child Eye Health in Kenya (The Fred Hollows Foundation)

By Opportunity To Do on behalf of The Fred Hollows Foundation

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Kenya has the potential to become one of Africa’s success stories. With its diversified economy, geographical position, growing population and booming communications and private sector, the future is bright for its almost 45 million people.

However to be born a child suffering from cataract in Kenya, the future is considerably less optimistic.

There are currently 17,000 children living in Kenya who are needlessly blind or vision impaired.

When allocating resources for managing cataract, children are often neglected and forgotten. The support that is available for eye health is predominantly from the private sector, making these services inaccessible for the most disadvantaged in the community.

Blind children face a lifetime of darkness, which is further affected by living in the third world as it also hinders their opportunities for education, employment and earning potential, and the extra financial strain placed on the family unit is substantial.

In developing countries blind children also have a lower life expectancy than their sighted counterparts. An estimated 500,000 children become blind each year, but in developing countries up to 60% are thought to die within a year of becoming blind.

The irony is that in the majority of cases, this is all avoidable.

But there is hope...

Thankfully the Kenyan government has acknowledged the significant gap in the delivery of eye health services to children in their country, and they hope to address this discrepancy by increasing access to high quality child eye health. But they need help so The Fred Hollows Foundation is joining this effort with their Child Eye Health Program.

This program takes a comprehensive and sustainable approach to upgrading facilities, providing training and equipment, and implementing school eye health programs to educate children and the community about prevention and treatment options for vision impairment and avoidable blindness.

The program aims to reach 1 million children aged 0 -15 years, improving their quality of life and educational performance and we want to help them achieve this.

The solution is ready to go, we just need your help

As Fred Hollows famously said, ‘you have to impart skills and technology and help them help themselves”, and this is exactly what The Fred Hollows Foundation is doing in Kenya.

As children with cataract often are not able to seek or follow through with treatment and those living in remote areas face even greater disadvantage. In fact, 80% of the Kenyan population live in rural areas where access to health services is extremely limited due to finite resources and financial allocation for eye health.

The Fred Hollows Foundation helps address this disadvantage by facilitating paediatric outreach camps to increase accessibility of eye health for children in these areas. These outreach camps provide vital screenings, surgery and postoperative care to many children who have previously been unable to access eye health services.

Help us support the great work of The Fred Hollows Foundation

So as part of the Walk to a Better World campaign we will continue to raise funds to help The Fred Hollows Foundation facilitate two mobile Paediatric eye camps in Kenya. Our aim is to raise at least $15,000 to provide:

  • screening for 1400 children;
  • treatment of other eye diseases for roughly 300 children;
  • surgical interventions for 30 children; and
  • puchase of an Autorefractor – a vital piece of equipment that measures the level of refractive error within the eye and is critical during paediatric surgeries.

We share Professor Fred Hollows belief that the basic attribute of mankind is to look after each other. By funding this project we can help The Fred Hollows Foundation to remove one more hurdle to help some of the poorest people in the world break the poverty cycle.

Please help to ensure these kids can have a bright future.

Please note: Donations over $2 are tax deductible through The Fred Hollows Foundation

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Team Members

Matt Napier