Kitui county has witnessed a significant decrease in cases of trachoma, thanks to the efforts put in place by the county’s health department to boost good sanitation.
According to Joseph Mutisya, who serves as an eye surgeon in the county, this reduction in cases of trachoma can be associated with a constant supply of clean water and clean toilets available to the residents.
“Though not every homestead is connected to piped water, at least, they can access it(water), unlike 20 years ago, when they were forced to walk tens of kilometres to et water. This is what has helped us improve sanitation.” Mutisya explained.
The county government of Kitui supplies tapped water to the locals pumped from Athi River. The government has also sensitized the locals o the importance of having toilets. this sensitization has seen the county post a toilet coverage of ninety-five percent from seventy percent in 2012.
“We do not have active trachoma, which means the disease is no longer being transmitted. We are happy that we have successfully fought the disease that used to affect the elderly,” he said.
Cases of the disease in Kitui have significantly reduced from 4,200 in 2012 to less than 1000 cases in 2021. The most affected areas include Mwingi North, Kitui Central, Kitui Rural, and Mwingi Central.
Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin. Caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, trachoma is easily spread through direct personal contact, shared towels and cloths, and flies that have come in contact with the eyes or nose of an infected person.
If left untreated, repeated trachoma infections can cause severe scarring of the inside of the eyelid and can cause the eyelashes to scratch the cornea (trichiasis). In addition to causing pain, trichiasis permanently damages the cornea and can lead to irreversible blindness. Trachoma, which spreads in areas that lack adequate access to water and sanitation, affects the most marginalized communities in the world.