UK pledges to eliminate trachoma in Kenya
from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI – THE British High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr Christian Turner, has launched the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Programme, an ambitious initiative aimed at eliminating trachoma.
The goal of the new initiative to support the elimination of the leading cause of infectious blindness in Kenya by 2019.
This initiative that will target 12 Kenyan counties with the hope of achieving its targets of assisting 41 000 people to receive surgery to prevent blindness, improve cleanliness to stop the spread of the disease, and see three million people receive the critical antibiotic treatment they need.
The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative will support the existing Kenya Trachoma Action Plan (TAP) that the Ministry of Health has developed to achieve elimination.
“This is an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of many Kenyans and is an opportunity we mustn’t waste,” Turner said during the launch that Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, attended.
“I am delighted that this new initiative will benefit Kenya, and will build upon previous investments and scale up our work in this important area in this country. In Kenya, over the past three years, Department for International Development (DFID) has already been supporting Sight Savers to provide eye care which includes efforts to prevent and treat trachoma,” added Turner.
I strongly welcome the leadership shown by H.E President Kenyatta at the UN General Assembly last week, hosting an event on domestic financing for health, and making commitments towards improved financing for critical health care delivery in Kenya.
The UK provides £1 billion in bilateral health aid across the globe, and is supporting work to strengthen health systems to support better delivery of essential health services.
Health is one of the major areas of our support for Kenya, and we will continue to support efforts of the Government of Kenya and its partners to step up efforts in the health sector.
Trachoma is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world yet it is an entirely preventable disease. It is responsible for 3 percent of global blindness, causing 1 adult to go blind in every 15 minutes.
Up to 230 million people are at risk of catching the disease with 70 percent of those affected being women.
In 2012 DFID made £50 million available to support this work in for the prevention and control of trachoma.
– CAJ News
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