When you decide to bring eye services to people who previously had none, sometimes you need to start from scratch. That’s exactly what The Fred Hollows Foundation is doing in the town of Migori, in south-western Kenya.
Prior to The Foundation's decision to step in and supply Migori Hospital with new equipment and staff, the 300,000 people in the town and surrounding areas had no permanent eye unit.
The new equipment will improve diagnosis and help treat common eye diseases, in a place where raising awareness and confidence in health services are the greatest challenges of all.
"People here still know very little about eye health," says Herbert Dola from The Foundation's Kenya office, in the capital Nairobi.
"Many still think blindness is a natural part of getting old, or worse still, some believe it is linked to witchcraft.
“Thanks to Australian supporters, health workers in Migori now have the equipment and skills to improve patient outcomes, which will build trust in the wider community,” says Dola.
Eye health services in Kenya are largely concentrated in urban centres and transport links with regional areas are poor. Therefore, one of the aims of The Foundation’s work is to improve access to quality eye care services for those living in rural and underserved areas by holding regular outreach eye camps.
The success of The Foundation's work has informed similar programs in other regions of Eastern Africa including Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.
Learn more about our Kenya program.