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Mtwara, At least 8,949 residents in Mtwara Region have benefited from a free cataract screening programme, thanks to Heart-to-Heart Foundation(HtHF).
The organization is striving to curb vision impairment by establishing a sustainable and reliable healthcare system.
Its three-year Eye Health System Strengthening Programme, funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency(KOICA), had set a Free Eye Camp for all five districts in the region with a view to reaching cataract patients who could not afford hospital costs. The districts are Mtwara, Masasi, Tandahimba, Nanyumbu and Newala.
During the implementation of the programme, which lasted for three years, eye experts had visited all dispensaries and health centres and identified patients in need of specialised treatments and surgeries. At least 2,500 out of 8,949 people who were screened, were diagnosed with cataract that needed surgeries.
Among them, at least 967 people underwent cataract surgeries while 921 others underwent minor eye surgeries.
The figures were revealed by the HtHF Country director, Ms. Eun Jeong Lee when addressing participants during a special function organized by the institute to mark the end of the three-year eye programme at Nanyumbu district recently.
“For the past five years, we have made concerted efforts to eradicate Trachoma in Mtwara urban and rural areas. We later came to discover that cataract is affecting a big number of residents and we took immediate measures to control the disease.” She said. She further revealed that the implementation of the programme had cost at least $1,270,000(about Sh2.79 billion).