By Erick Ludeya
Kenyans and Nairobi residents in particular can now access improved eye health services after a new facility worth Sh150 million was unveiled.
The Westlands Laser Eye Hospital with a capacity of 100 patients becomes one of the few eye centers in Nairobi which offer quality eye care services.
The facility was officially launched by Nairobi Deputy Governor Ann Kananu who called for more investment in the sector as part of the Universal Health Coverage agenda. She lauded the quality of work done in setting it up.
It is owned ny Mr. sanjeev Agarwal and Dr. Vaibhav Pednekar who are also the Directors and have vast experience in eye care health.
“Nairobi County Government values constructive establishments similar to what we have here today. The development of our health systems is key to the county plans, this facility, though private, is a notable contribution. We are optimistic that your quality out and in patient services reinforced by the state of art technology equipment, professional health care provision, doctors, nurses, paramedics and general staff will go a long way in easing pressure on our available Government eye clinics.” She said
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General, Major General Mohamed Badi lauded the opening of the facility adding that universal health care is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.
“We are doing our level best to improve access to health facilities for ordinary mwananchi. NMS has plans to build 24 health centers in all the informal settlements in Nairobi. Four of these centers have already been unveiled and two others are set to open this coming weekend.” Badi said.
The NMS Director General, encouraged the proprietors of the Laser eye clinic to not shy away from utilising County health facilities and offer pro bono services to needy Nairobi residents.
The facilities’ Chief Executive, Mr. Sanjeev Agarwal, promised to work hand in hand with Nairobi City County Government to ensure harmonised provision of medical services that would mutually be of benefit to Nairobi residents.
Eye health and vision have widespread and profound implications for many aspects of life, health, sustainable development, and the economy. Yet nowadays, many people, families, and populations continue to suffer the consequences of poor access to high-quality, affordable eye care, leading to vision impairment and blindness.
In 2020, an estimated 596 million people had distance vision impairment worldwide, of whom 43 million were blind. Another 510 million people had uncorrected near vision impairment, simply because of not having reading spectacles. A large proportion of those affected (90%), live in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, encouragingly, more than 90% of people with vision impairment have a preventable or treatable cause with existing highly cost-effective interventions.
The County Government, according to the DG will in the future work on crucial actions to generate and use evidence to promote eye health within universal health coverage. This will include; development of a research agenda based on the grand challenges, increase solution-focused research including more contextually relevant implementation and health systems research, in partnership with patients, communities, service implementers, and policy makers, with an emphasis on ensuring that services address the leading causes of vision impairment in terms of coverage, quality, equity, and financial protection.