In Africa, having vision problems can be a challenging hurdle. The lack of access to eyeglasses poses a significant challenge for many children who struggle with reading because their families cannot afford them due to limited economic resources. This situation is further compounded by the lack of specialized training and services in local medical facilities, often resulting in misdiagnoses related to eye issues.
The DREAM Kenya Trust, the local health organization of the DREAM Program, recognizing the increasing number of patients with eye problems seeking assistance in clinics, has decided to bridge this gap by organizing dedicated days for eye examinations, prescribing glasses, and providing them for free. The goal was and is to provide high-quality services to patients under care at the Aina, Chaaria, and the DREAM center in Nairobi, as well as to community members near these facilities.
Moreover, for this occasion, the DREAM Program of the Sant’Egidio Community established a valuable collaboration with the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, the Cottolengo Mission Hospital in Chaaria, the Aina Village where Sant’Egidio’s DREAM Centers operate, and the DREAM center in Nairobi run by the Daughters of Charity. Together, they organized a week-long mentorship activity for practitioners focusing on screening, diagnosis, and treatment of eye conditions and visual impairments.
These dedicated days for eye examinations and providing glasses took place from July 10th to 12th at the Aina clinic, July 13th and 14th at the Cottolengo Mission Hospital in Chaaria, and from August 15th to 18th at the DREAM center in Nairobi.
Thanks to the collaboration of the various partners involved, these days were a success.
The OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation contributed by providing necessary equipment for the examinations, offering four optometrists and two support staff members. They also provided a free pair of prescription glasses to each patient in need of visual correction.
Meanwhile, the DREAM Kenya Trust engaged an ophthalmologist and a cataract specialist to examine all patients and provide essential treatments. This support was crucial in ensuring comprehensive coverage of the patients’ eye care needs during these days.
Additionally, the Cottolengo Mission Hospital in Chaaria, the Aina clinic, and the DREAM center in Nairobi played a fundamental role in organizing the visit days, providing accommodation to the medical team and support healthcare workers, and creating the necessary space for medical activities. The active involvement of these facility teams in mobilizing and preselecting patients significantly contributed to the event’s success.
Despite the advance booking of 300 patients for the Chaaria clinic and 650 for the Aina clinic, news of the event quickly spread in the community, leading to a higher turnout than expected. This demonstrated the significant and widespread need for quality eye care in the country.
This joint activity was just one step toward a brighter future for those battling visual impairment and other eye conditions. The hope is that with initiatives like this, more and more people can receive the care they need and look forward to a better and healthier future.