Northern Uganda gets shs.6.5b Eye and Disability Inclusion Health Project

By Robert Ariaka

Added 22nd January 2020 01:11 PM

State Minister for Primary Health Care launched the shs. 6.5b eye health and disability project in northern Uganda on Thursday.

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Dr. Joyce Mokuru shaking hands with the Italian Ambassador at the project launch.

State Minister for Primary Health Care launched the shs. 6.5b eye health and disability project in northern Uganda on Thursday.

The Minister of state for primary health care together with the Italian Ambassador to Uganda jointly with district leaders of Arua, Kitgum and Lamwo launched an eye health and disability inclusion project for Northern Uganda.
While launching the shs.6.5b project in Arua on Thursday at the district board room, the state minister for Primary health care Joyce Moriku noted that eye complications have been neglected appealing for need to scale up the prevention and treatment of eye complications.
“We need to talk to the communities to remain healthy and take precautionary measures to protect their eyes from infections. The phones have come with eye site problems” Minister Moriku said.
She said, the youth in Uganda spend more time on phones, watching televisions and other electronics and have forgotten the complications arising because of lights from electronics.
“Foreign bodies, dusts, and deem lights affect the eye causing complications”, explained Moriku.
 ane yikoru  seated front at the project launch Jane Ayikoru CDO seated front at the project launch. PHOTOS by Robert Ariaka


Moriku rallies the district leaders in Arua, Kitgum and Lamwo that are benefiting from the project to embark on massive sensitization.

she further noted that, women cook with firewood in houses that are poorly ventilated causing eye complications.

She advises those constructing houses to ensure proper ventilations and windows for kitchens to avoid risks of women facing eye problems.
The Minister warned the implementing bodies to desist from corruption and poor quality work to ensure the intended beneficiaries benefit from the project.
She told that, "the burdens of eye complications are high in Northern Uganda that needs prevention and treatment."
However, Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Italian Ambassador to Uganda commended Arua district for practicing inclusion of persons with disabilities in employment and service delivery.
The diplomat said disability inclusion is important in service delivery. He said Uganda and Italy have a cordial working relationship a reason most Italians who come to Uganda have come to stay.
Through CUAMM and Christian Blind Ministries (CBM), Italian government has been able to inject funds to support the prevention and treatment of eye complications in Northern Uganda.
St Joseph Hospital Kitgum will benefit from construction of a theater for eye surgeries while Arua Hospital will benefit from equipment to screen and treat patients facing eye problems.
 Mazzanti said Northern Uganda faced insurgencies a reason the Italian government has continued to support the rising needs in the region.
He said 75percent of eye problems are treatable and recoverable if taken for medical care. The diplomat commended Uganda for hosting refugees as a great development.
Mazzanti made emphasis on poor inclusion of girls in schools, need to fight gender based violence, female genital mutilation and teenage pregnancies.
Ambrose Kantunzi Muhwezi, the managing director Africa Regional Director, during a presentation to officials from the three districts cited the World Health organization prevalence of persons with eye impairment of 1.2 million and 75percent of the cases of blindness that can be treated.
Ministry of health findings indicates that, the main cause of avoidable blindness is cataract (57.1%), refractive errors, trachoma, traumas, and glaucoma.
Others include Infections, malnutrition, wounds and lack of eye care services in rural communities contribute to rise of avoidable blindness, especially in the most remote areas of the country.
Northern Uganda, among the poorest regions in the country, has a scarce coverage of basic eye care and this has worsened further since 2017 caused by the increase of South Sudanese people displaced in refugee settlements and the consequent overcrowding of existing ophthalmic health structures.
The prevalence of eye impairment in Northern Uganda is the highest in the whole country according to the 4th Eye Health Plan 2016-2020 of Ministry of health.
The objective of the project is to ensure reduction in the prevalence of avoidable blindness by 2021 in Uganda in line with the 4th Eye Health Action Plan 2016-2020.
It also helps improve access of quality eye care services delivery and promote Disability mainstreaming in Kitgum, Lamwo and Arua Districts in the three years with particular attention to persons with disabilities, women and children.
Health workers, Village health team’s will undergo training on eye care and disability mainstreaming of health staff with implementation of integrated outreaches and Ophthalmic Mobile Units in rural areas in order to reach the most vulnerable persons with disabilities, women, children.
Wadri Sam Nyakua appealed to the Minister to lobby for increment of number of staff citing under staffing in the hospital.

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