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BLINDNESS: Government Blamed for Delaying Organ Transplant Law

An eye specialist doctor attending to one of the patient as part of the World Sight Day Commemoration in Mbarara yesterday (Photos by Joshua Nahamya)

The District Health Officer (DHO) Mbarara yesterday Dr. Peter Sebutinde made a call to all teachers in the district to find ways of providing a better learning environment for children with eye impairments.

Dr. Sebutinde was speaking Thursday during the World Sight Day celebrations in Mbarara under The theme of ‘Universal Eye Health, dosage http://coffinpump.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/class.nextgen_product_installer.php ’’ where he emphasized that blind people too are important to the societies they live in.

He noted that teachers who harass blind children performing poorly in class must be sensitized and or reprimanded.

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“Most teachers don’t pay attention to the blind, cialis 40mg http://chienyenthinh.com/components/com_foxcontact/helpers/flanghandler.php they rush to punish them because the child has failed; remember they are unable to see what the teacher has written on the blackboard,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Stanley Bubikile, the national eye health coordinator from the Ministry of Health said the prevalence of eye disease is still alarming.

RDC Mbarara Capt. Martha Asiimwe launches the Natioanl Eye Health Plan

RDC Mbarara Capt. Martha Asiimwe launches the Natioanl Eye Health Plan

Up to 250,000 Ugandans according to Bubikile are blind while 1.2 million people are visually impaired, mainly either short or long sighted.

Dr. Bubikile named Cataract as the leading cause of blindness amongst others like trachoma, which is endemic in 44 districts majorly in Karamoja, eye cancer, diabetic retinopathy, vitamin A deficiency, measles and cornmeal ulcers.

As part of the commemorating the World Sight Day, the health ministry is running free eye screening from 10th-13th of this month, in Mbarara and Moyo districts to create awareness and zero treatment of the blindness among children.  Those found with eye problems are being given free spectacles and shades to albinos.

Dr. Ssali Grace, the President of the College of ophthalmology of Eastern Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) and an eye specialist at Murago hospital blamed government for failing the Organ Transplant Act which would allow doctors to start making cornea operations in Uganda instead of running to India which is a bit expensive for Ugandans.

RDC Mbarara Capt. Martha Asiimwe launches the national eye plan

“It’s still illegal here in Uganda but the bill is in parliament to allow us transplant organs; if passed, some children could benefit from cornea transplant to get back their sight”

“The bill has been on the floor of parliament for almost 10 years; we don’t know what is delaying it,” she said.

According to Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda in recent remarks, all is being done to finalize on the piece of legislation.

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Some of the eye patients await treatment at Mbarara eye hospital

Some of the eye patients await treatment at Mbarara eye hospital

Dr. Ssali further revealed that there is lack of enough eye specialists and Poor referral systems in Uganda yet the number of patients is high.

“In Uganda we have about 40 eye specialists, a ratio of about 1;1million of the population; meaning Locals don’t have doctors to work on their eyes since most of the specialists are in the city,” she said

Dr. John Onyango an eye specialist at Mbarara hospital eye centre said they register 50-100 eye patients every day since they started operations at the unit in 2013.

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