RUBAVU—The Ministry of Health is to step up a campaign to sensitise people on how to prevent blindness in the Western Province.
This was disclosed by Joy Bahumura, an official in charge of fighting blindness and other eye defects during her recent tour of Gisenyi Hospital to assess the treatment of eye diseases.
“The objective of our visit was to find out the number of patients, the common eye diseases in the area, the equipment used in treating the diseases and the doctors involved,” she said.
“It was basically to find out what is missing so as to know where to start from as the Ministry in supporting the hospital in its fight against the diseases,” she said.
At the hospital, Bahumura said she was impressed with the level at which the hospital had reached in fighting blindness in the area.
“The western province is one of the regions in Rwanda that have a bigger number of eye diseases and big number of blindness cases. I am however impressed that Gisenyi Hospital through the support of Fred Harrow foundation has acquired enough equipments and experts to address the problem,” Bahumura explained.
She said that the recent research on blindness in the Western Province reveals that 90 per cent of the diseases that cause blindness can be healed but most patients ignore getting early treatment which resulted into total blindness.
Bahumura called upon local leaders to sensitise residents to always seek timely treatment to avoid blindness.
Jeanvier Murenzi, the country coordinator of Fred Hollows Foundation, said the number of patients seeking eye treatment at Gisenyi Hospital has increased compared to previous days.
“Through Fred Hollows Foundation’s support, the hospital has acquired equipments and specialist. The hospital now treats over forty patients a day,” said Murenzi.
He explained that the organisation was inspired by an Australian eye doctor called Fred (1929-1993), a skilled international renowned surgeon who championed the right of all people to high quality affordable eye care and good health.
Fred Hollows foundation started its activities in the western province in 2007 after research indicated that over 4,000 residents in the area were suffering from eye diseases which could result into total blindness due to lack of treatment.