County Department of Health Services and Sanitation is in the process of developing a transition plan that will seek to integrate the elimination of Trachomatus Trichiasis (TT) into the routine eye healthcare systems.
With the partners’ concluding their support, the transition plan is meant to ensure trachoma management is placed under dedicated service delivery activities into the routine healthcare system in order for the trachoma prevalence to be below 5% as recommended by WHO.
While giving his closing remarks, County Chief Officer of Health Services and Sanitation Captain (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang’ advised the participants that their transition planning and discussions should include all aspects of health.
“As the health department takes up more responsibilities of the partner supported programs, we have to think of self-sustainability,” he said.
He applauded the ophthalmic county team and partners for achievement made thus far in the reduction trachoma prevalence such the MDA campaigns in trachoma hotspots like Turkana North and West, construction of Lokituang Eye Clinic and theatre, eye medical camps done in collaboration with the Kenya Society for the Blind, Fred Hollows, Sight Savers, National Ministry of Health and Spanish Eye Doctors.
Trachomatus Trichiasis considered a neglected tropical disease has over the years become the focus of the World Health Organisation and affected countries like Kenya to eliminate the disease that when goes untreated leads to permanent blindness.
In 2010 TT prevalence in Turkana County stood at 42.3%, however due to short-term interventions – carried out by county government through the support of multiple partners – such mass drug administration (MDAs) and surgeries have managed to reduce the prevalence to 9.9%.
The plan’s implementation will eliminate reliance on short-term interventions to a long-term one known as SAFE (surgery, antibiotic, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement).
According to County Ophthalmic Services Coordinator – Samson Lokele, the county government had jumpstarted on some of the transition plan requirements such procurement of essential eye drugs, employment of 68 ophthalmic healthcare workers and training of community health volunteers (CHVs) as well as other cadres as identifiers.
Also present were Sarah Olalo (Program Manager, The Fred Hollow Foundation Kenya) Ernest Wanyama (National Trachoma Coordinator) and Titus Kimani (Trachoma Focal Point Person) from the Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Disease – Ministry of Health.