Kenyan Minister of Medical Services Officially Opens Kitale Eye Unit

Oct 02, 2010, 12:30 ET from Operation Eyesight Universal

TORONTO, October 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Hon. Prof. Anyang' Nyong'o, Minister of Medical Services, officially declared the Eye Unit of the Kitale District Hospital open before a crowd of dignitaries, local residents and school children. The Eye Unit was built by Operation Eyesight Universal, an international development organization based in Canada.

"It's all about building local capacity," says Pat Ferguson, Operation Eyesight Universal's President and CEO. "This grand opening of the eye clinic at the Kitale District Hospital is another step in the development of quality, sustainable eye care services."

Since 2002, the generous Canadian donors at Operation Eyesight have invested almost $3.5 million US or 276 million Schillings in Kenya for construction and/or refurbishment of eye clinics and operating theatres in Narok, Kitale, Kapsabet and Kapenguria. Operation Eyesight has also supported hospital operating costs and the Narok Trachoma Project.

"We are proud to work with the Government of Kenya to focus our efforts and investments on development projects that will demonstrate effective models of sustainable services in primary and secondary eye care, as well as community projects that attack and eliminate the root causes of blindness," stated Ferguson.

Operation Eyesight is an international development organization dedicated to preventing and treating avoidable blindness in low income countries for almost 50 years-primarily in India and Africa. We help local medical professionals provide blindness prevention programs and comprehensive, sustainable eye care for the people of the world who can least afford it. Since 1963, Operation Eyesight has prevented blindness in more than 35 million people. For more information, visit http://www.operationeyesight.com.

Global Blindness: Every five seconds, one person in our world goes blind and a child goes blind every minute. More than 90 per cent of the world's blind live in developing countries, where day-to-day life is already daunting and blindness is a direct threat to life. Over 80 per cent of this blindness is preventable or treatable.

Trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by bacterial infection and is easily spread. Children are most susceptible. The disease progresses gradually until scarring from prolonged infection causes the eyelashes to turn inward and scratch the cornea, leading slowly and painfully to complete blindness. In the developing world, more than 80 million people are affected by trachoma with over 8 million suffering the late painful stage of the disease.

Sanitation: More than 1.2 billion people in the world do not have even the most basic sanitation facilities.

Clean Water: More than 884 million people in the world do not have access to clean water.

For further information: For interviews, photos or more information, please contact: Lindsay O'Connor, Head of International Media Operation Eyesight Universal, Phone: +1-416-438-7280, Mobile: +1-647-404-4469, Toll-free: +1-800-585-8265, Fax: +1-416-438-6132, oconnor@operationeyesight.com, http://www.operationeyesight.com, OPERATION EYESIGHT UNIVERSAL, Suite 208, 2100 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M1H 3B7

SOURCE Operation Eyesight Universal