Dr. Jacob Ntende, an Ophthalmologist at Mulago National Hospital, has emphasized the importance of raising awareness about eye health to combat the growing number of eye-related ailments nationwide.

Following a successful eye camp on Friday, Dr. Ntende spoke to journalists, highlighting the necessity for enhanced mobilization and education efforts and he noted that some patients still attribute eye conditions to superstitions, hindering early diagnosis and treatment.

“Some patients resort to using urine as a remedy for red eyes, unaware that it can lead to blindness if contaminated with gonorrhea. The level of ignorance among certain individuals remains concerning,” he explained.

The Ministry of Health reports that eye diseases currently rank as the primary cause of morbidity and outpatient visits, with approximately 1% of the population estimated to be blind and 9% over the age of 50.

Furthermore, the Health Ministry’s 2018 report revealed that 57.1% of blindness cases in Uganda are due to cataracts, while uncorrected refractive errors are the leading cause of visual impairments.

Addressing the recent surge in glaucoma cases, Dr. Ntende emphasized the importance of regular eye check-ups, as early detection is key to managing this chronic and progressive condition.

Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Ntende debunked the notion that consuming carrots alone can improve eye health, stressing the importance of regular check-ups given that most Ugandan diets already contain sufficient vitamin A.

In collaboration with Eye Health Africa UK, the eye camp attracted over 100 patients, with 21 receiving critical surgeries.

Primrose Magala, founder of Eye Health Africa UK, commended the turnout, underscoring their commitment to providing free medical services and knowledge exchange to transform lives across the continent.

“We give credit to the few ophthalmologists that are dedicated to treat Ugandans, we commit to you that we shall teach you and support you and we are glad that you listened to our ambition,” she noted.

One beneficiary, Maama Phiona, shared her experience, expressing gratitude for the free treatment her daughter received after her eye condition worsened following childbirth in 2023.

“In this eye camp, they have put an implant in my daughters orbit since she had no any, I’m thankful for Mulago because all this was done at a free cost,” she highlighted.

Since 2017, partnerships between Uganda-UK health alliances, Eye Health Africa, and the Ubora Foundation have facilitated advancements in ophthalmic healthcare delivery through equipment donations and capacity building.

Dr. Innocent Ayesiga, the in-country director of Eye Health Africa, highlighted the camp’s objectives, including surgical procedures, equipment donations, and professional lectures aimed at strengthening the healthcare workforce and achieving universal health coverage.

“We are committed to this goal, believing that sustained efforts will lead to quality healthcare provision and reduced dependence on medical tourism,” he emphasized.

Kimera Abdul is a Senior Journalist with Plus News Uganda. He identifies as an adaptable and enthusiastic individual who works to inspire generations. He posses a Diploma and Broadcast journalism and has... More by Kimera Abdu

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