Aid agency TİKA organizes cataract surgery camp in Kenya
ISIOLO – Anadolu Agency
The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) on July 25 performed free-of-cost eye surgeries for nomads in Kenya’s Isiolo county.
The semi-arid county in the northeast is among the poorest in Kenya, characterized by extreme weather conditions and temperatures of above 35 degree Celsius all-year-round with little or no rain.
The residents are mostly poor nomads whose livestock has been affected by continued droughts.
A week-long eye camp was organized jointly by TİKA and the Mama Ibado Charitable Foundation. It brought together ophthalmologists, surgeons and optometrists from across Kenya to perform cataract surgeries.
Cataracts develop due to exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays.
The disease is also associated with old age, said Dr. Francis Sampele, an ophthalmologist.
Patients, all of them senior citizens, from across the country streamed in the Isiolo Referral Hospital. Some brought in by relatives, others walk supported by a stick.
Some 78 patients had successful surgeries.
The camp aims to cover 400 people.
Dr. Agnes Maio told state-run Anadolu Agency that a cataract surgery normally costs more than 150,000 Kenyan shillings ($1,500).
“I am happy that I am doing this for free because the community here earns less than a dollar a day. It feels good. The patients walk in blind and when they come back to take off their bandage [they can see]. They thank me,” he said.
“Turkey is keen to support Kenya’s health sector. This is the first medical camp of its kind in Kenya and we hope to continue these camps in the future,” TİKA Nairobi Coordinator Emre Yüksek said.