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MMUST Optometrists in Collaboration with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) International Offer Free Comprehensive Vision Care at Local Elementary Schools in Kakamega County

A section of the fifth year Optometry students together with their lecturers during the outreach.

The MMUST Optometrists in collaboration with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) International yesterday, 20th September 2023, conducted free pediatric vision screening at a local elementary school in Kakamega County. The Department of Optometry has a series of such outreach activities, which will go on up to 29th September, 2023. The aim of these activities is to provide access to vision care for financially disadvantaged patients with higher prevalence of eye-related diseases in the community.

The exercise was carried out at Senyende Primary School –Shinyalu, by fifth year students together with the visiting Optometrists from Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH)-Michigan, USA (Dr. Nelson Edwards and Eng. Gerry Jackson). During vision screenings, they performed a symptom survey, evaluation of the vision, focusing system, binocular status, color vision, depth perception, and complete auto refraction to identify children who are at risk of having vision problems.

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Dr. Nelson Edwards from Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH)-Michigan, USA conducting eye screening to one of the leaners from Senyende Primary School.

The members of the department who also took part in the exercise included Dr. Julius Rono, Ms. Sheila Nangena, Mr. Andrew Wekesa, and Mr. Alfred Ragot.  They were accompanied by Coordinator-Extension Services and Outreach, Dr. Issah Kweyu. The team will continue with Eye screening in Mahiakalo Primary School, Mukabi Primary School and Mumias Muslim Primary School.

The team leader, Ms. Sheila Nangena noted that as a Department, their goal is to provide valuable clinical training to students as they serve those segments of the local population who have only limited access to health care.

“We believe strongly in giving back to the community and caring for the eyes of all those in need. Essential supplies like eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical drops were provided to patients that needed them. We appreciate Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) for supporting us,” she said.

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The MMUSO President, Mr. Benjamin Mutisya performing evaluation of the vision.

The MMUSO President, Mr. Benjamin Mutisya who is one of the fifth year Optometry students noted that they are glad that the Department of Optometry is at the forefront in aligning with the World Health Organization (WHO) call in reducing preventable blindness. “Such clinical experience provides a chance to put classwork to practical use. The outreach program provides us with valuable hand-on opportunities to learn how to offer culturally competent care to the community,” he stated. 

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Mr. Andrew Wekesa giving instructions to the Optometry students before screening exercise. 

Over five hundred learners were able to undergo the comprehensive pediatric vision screening. This is a key strategy to address the rising trend of avoidable vision loss. It is imperative to adopt community vision screening with a systematic screening protocol to prevent blindness through early diagnosis and treatment.

By Linet Owuor

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