NAIROBI, November 12- Last monthâ€™s Standard Chartered marathon Nairobi raised Sh12.5 million up from Sh9.4 million in 2007.
Twelve thousand runners took part in the marathon whose proceeds will go towards sponsoring cataract operations in five hospitals at the Coast, Western, Central and Rift Valley provinces.
“The increased contributions will enable us expand our support for cataract operations and trachoma intervention programs in various parts of the country,” said Etemesi.
“We will continue our partnership with Christian Blind Mission (CBM) to fund last year’s projects in PCEA Kikuyu Eye Hospital (Sh4.8 million), Sabatia Eye Hospital (Sh2.4 million) and Kwale District Eye Centre (Sh464,000),” he added.
“We are grateful to all Kenyans who turned up in large numbers and shared in our Hesabika vision,” said Etemesi.
Trachoma is the second leading cause of blindness in Kenya with Samburu district the most stricken in the country.
“The bank has allocated funds (Sh2.1 million) to go towards a Trachoma intervention project in Lechet Village in Samburu district,” said Etemesi.
CBM country co-ordinator Nathanael Bascom said that hundreds of children stand to benefit from the race’s proceeds which came from registration fees and from sponsors.
“The proceeds from the marathon has enabled CBM to provide sight restoring surgery for some 370 children,” said Bascom.
“In addition a safe trachoma programme was implemented in northern Samburu district which involves the provision of surgery, antibiotics, increased acces to water and environmental protection,” he added.
Samson Tuiyange and Emma Muthomi who is part of Kenya’s Greatest Race on Earth (GROE) team were this year’s marathon winners.
Etemesi stated that he will also like to see more spectator participation at the marathon.
“Our aim is to involve as many people as possible primarily as participants but also those who will not run. One thing we would like to see next year is lot more spectators lining the routes and cheering on the runners,” said Etemesi.
The GROE series is a four leg international marathon series that is also held in Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The race which is held on the last Sunday of October has been gazetted by the Kenyan government as a national event.