Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eye Care in Africa

The SEVA-supported services provided by the community ophthalmology organization, KCCO, are broadly eye care programs, training of personnel in communities and research. SEVA contributed $237,355 US in 2012 to the work. There are several donor organizations that contribute to the operating budget.

Trained ophthalmologists in Africa, as in the west, are located in cities. Comsequently, outreach to the communities is essential in order to identify the eye care needs of each community. KCCO sends teams, including nurses, counsellors and technicians to many sites in Africa to assess the needs and educate people, especially women, regarding the availability of eye care services, including cataract surgery. Following up with the patients who are treated is important in providing evidence of the effectiveness of the treatment.

The geographic range of KCCO extends to 10 sites: Madagascar (3), Uganda (2), Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi. In total, over 85,000 were screened and treated for eye diseases in 2012. The annual report for 2012 lists 7,762 cataract surgeries performed. 

Education is instrumental in encouraging more patients to access the camps and clinics. Micro finance programs targeting women in rural areas are assisted by KCCO. Eye health initiatives such as the Sentinel Project are evaluated. Teachers at African schools for the blind are given training to improve education of students with low vision. Awareness of trachoma and trichiasis is raised in the community. KCCO collaborates with other NGOs in the planning to eliminate both trachoma and trichiasis (both of which can lead to blindness).

There is more. Suffice to say that this small staff is committed to the vision (pun intended) of providing eye health training and helping Africans access eye clinics and services. The site is

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