KCCO’s evidence-based community eye health programs effect change in communities and at different levels of the health system. While many of our stories of impact document how we strengthen the building blocks of high-quality and highly-effective local eye care programs, it is also important to document the stories of adults and children affected by eye diseases. Today, we tell the short story of Michael.
Michael is an 8-month old boy who was recently treated at the Benedictine Eye Hospital (BEH) in Tororo, Uganda. His mother first identified that there was something wrong with his vision when he was 5 months old. She had had a complicated pregnancy and Michael was born prematurely. Due to personal problems and financial constraints, Michael’s mother was not able to bring him to BEH for treatment immediately as per a referral from Mbale Hospital (47 kilometers from Tororo).
When she made it to BEH, she was identified for financial support under the KCCO program as a walk-in patient. Michael underwent bilateral cataract surgery and he was given spectacles. His mother reports great improvement in his behaviour. He can reach directly in front of himself to grab objects, instead of searching for them by hand. He is also more playful than before surgery.
Michael requires follow-up care, including for his spectacles, as they will need to be custom fit for him. Follow up care for children operated for cataracts is an essential component of all KCCO programs as it is important to monitor the vision, to change the glasses, and to manage complications.
Over the years, the partnership between KCCO and BEH has increased awareness about eye diseases in the Eastern Region of Uganda, increased human resources capacity at BEH for childhood blindness programs, removed critical barriers to care for families by subsidizing the costs of surgeries and transport and strengthen referral pathways between BEH and other providers at different levels of care.
KCCO is proud of the team at BEH for their great work in helping to give sight to this child, and many others.