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Over 10mn Kenyans at risk of going blind due to spike in lifestyle diseases

Kenya Society for the Blind Chairman, Samson Waweru/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – Over 10 million Kenyans risk going blind with the rise of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.

Kenya Society for the Blind Chairman Samson Waweru says that the situation can be prevented with if the government increases funding towards sensitizing the public and dealing with the rise in lifestyle disease.

“7.5 million Kenyans are already infected with 2.5 million on the verge of facing the same predicament if the government does not upscale efforts to avert such occurrences,” he said.

He further added that vibrancy in public awareness on blindness and more eye-care services will stem the number of blind Kenyans from rising.

“More services ranging from simple eye screening and treatment of common eye ailments are needed to reduce and prevent blindness,” said Waweru.

Blindness arises due to preventable and treatable conditions such as trachoma, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma, among other ailments.

Co-Founder of the Society of Professionals with Visual Disabilities, Reginald Oduor further added that they have partnered with the Kenya Society for the Blind to ensure constant awareness across the country that will reduce the chances of more Kenyans becoming blind.

“Our aim is to ensure that Kenya Society for the blind can fulfill its mandate in a sustainable way and we will engage the public in the coming weeks about this looming danger,” said Oduor.

They were speaking during the Kenya Society for the Blind report on the release of the state of sight in Kenya.

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According to the World Health Organization “World Report on Vision”, at least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

While over US $14.3 billion is required to deal with unaddressed refractive errors and cataract globally, the report shows that only US$5.8 billion would have been the cost of preventing vision impairment in these 11.9 million people.

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