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CHAK has launched the Africa Clear Sight Partnership Project whose goal is to tackle presbyopia. According to MOH, 7.5 million Kenyans need eye care services, a number that is rapidly rising as a result of lifestyle choices and occupational hazards, among other reasons.

CHAK continues to work with other health sector players to address the vision crisis, recently launching the project at the Annual Health Conference held on April 23-25, 2024.

The project aims to increase awareness and education on presbyopia, its risk factors, associated impairment and its effects on quality of life. Together with partners, ACHAP, Restoring Vision and Africa Clear Sight Partnership, CHAK will work towards eliminating the near vision impairment.

Already, health workers from 25 Level 4 facilities, have been trained to screen for presbyopia and are expected to cascade the training to other project sites in their areas. CHAK received 100,000 reading glasses in February which continue to be distributed free-of-charge to people identified through screening to have presbyopia. CHAK expects to receive a further 100,000 pairs of reading glasses by August 2024.

What is presbyopia?
Presbyopia is when a person has difficulty focusing on near objects because of loss of flexibility in the lens of the eye. This causes up-close blurry vision and tends to occur as we get older, typically beginning at age 40.

Barriers to addressing prebyopia and other eye conditions

A low percentage of persons with presbyopia have spectacles and an even smaller percentage have spectacles that can correct presbyopia. Cost is the principal barrier to reading glasses use and this has featured in 62 per cent of respondents in different studies across sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Michael Gichangi from MOH Ophthalmology Services Unit in his presentation at the CHAK Annual Health Conference 2024 identified the following barriers to eye care services in Kenya:

  • Need not felt: Some people do not see the need to seek eye care services specially when it is not an emergency.
  • Fear
  • Cost
  • Treatment denied by provider
  • Unaware treatment is possible
  • Cannot access treatment

Project implementation model
In implementing the Africa Clear Sight Partnership Project, CHAK will conduct community based and health facility based activities. At the community level, CHAK will implement an awareness, education, and screening program for presbyopia in community forums and in outreach camps. At the facility level, the program proposes to integrate screening for presbyopia at all service delivery points.

The project’s implementation approach can be summarised as follows:

  • Build and strengthen the capacity of health workers to offer screening for presbyopia
  • Community awareness and education
  • Screening and providing high-quality reading glasses to individuals identified with presbyopia in dispensaries and health centre’s (spokes) and in hospitals (hubs)
  • Support supervision
  • Partnership and collaboration (MOH Eye Health Unit and Eye Health

The project which is expected to reach catchment communities around 100 CHAK member health units is being implemented in a hub and spoke model in seven regions as follows:

  • Region 1: Nairobi/Central: PCEA Kikuyu Hospital as the Hub with 10 spoke health facilities
  • Region 2: Eastern/Northeastern: PCEA Chogoria Hospital as the Hub with 13 spoke health facilities
  • Region 3: Coast: Light House for Christ Hospital as the Hub with 4 spoke health facilities
  • Region 4: Central Rift: AIC Kapsowar Hospital with 15 spoke health facilities
  • Region 5: South Rift: Tenwek Mission Hospital as the Hub with 20 spoke health facilities
  • Region 6: Nyanza/Western: Sabatia Eye Hospital as the hub with 23 spoke health facilities
  • Region 7: Turkana: AIC Kalokol HC as the hub with 8 spoke health facilities

PCEA Kikuyu Hospital is warehousing the reading glasses and is in the process of distributing 14,000 pairs to identified presbyopia patients. Partners in Sudan and the Kenya Society for the Blind have also received reading glasses for distribution.


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