RUBAVU — Gisenyi Hospital has announced a plan to cub down the numbers affected by eye diseases in the district. Under the plan the hospital is to work closely with Rubavu district authorities to track down residents with eye defects which are likely to cause total blindness.
Dr. Tarcis Nkunga, the Gisenyi Hospital administrator said this recently at a workshop that brought together health officials from various health centres in the district. The workshop was aimed at laying serious strategies to combat the growing problem of eye diseases in the district.
Dr. Nkunga observed that blindness was mainly caused by negligence of the patients and poor eye care.
According to health experts, blindness is defined as impairment brought about by lack of visual perception due to physical or neurotical factors.
Addressing the participants, Dr. Nkunga explained that trachoma was one of the most common eye diseases in Rubavu. He said there was a link between trachoma, poverty and poor sanitation.
According to medical experts, trachoma is triggered by bacteria that causes repeated conjunctivitis, irritating the eyes and creating a mucous discharge. "The discharge caused by trachoma attracts flies that then land on the other people’s skins to spread the disease. People in crowded houses or neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable to the disease that can easily cause blindness," Dr. Nkunga said.
He called upon residents to improve hygiene in their homes, saying people who don’t wash their hands and faces regularly were more prone to eye infections.
He further advised residents to always seek medication whenever they experienced visual impairment.
"Many residents have been lied to by traditional doctors who confine them in their shrines until the patient’s cases are too late to handle. We have trained health workers and posted them in all health centres in the district to handle such cases," he said.
The doctor asked health workers working in distant health centres to always submit reports concerning eye diseases to Gisenyi main Hospital. He also asked them to always refer patients with cases beyond their capacity to experts in time.