The centre is not just a clinic and operating theatre but runs an active "outreach" service into the community.... particularly in the remote areas.
This work is done by volunteers such as the village health committee members who are trained in recognising blindness and counselling those afflicted to attend for treatment.
The main barrier to people seeking help for their poor sight is an almost total lack of awareness that it can be treated and that treatment is available. People are also very afraid of any form of medicine - often preferring to see the witch doctor and reluctantly considering conventional medicine only when that fails. Poverty is also a major problem.
Despite this, last year over 10,000 patients were seen in screening clinics in remote "bush" areas. The community based workers are now responsible for finding and referring half the cataract patients treated by the clinic.
Patients often walk up to four hours to reach a field screening station. KDEC operates a variety of vehicles including two minibuses, two four-wheel-drive vehicles, nine motorcycles, a tuk-tuk and several bicycles. The four-wheel-drive vehicles are essential for reaching many areas of the District where there are no roads. Sometimes the field workers have to travel between villages on foot. The role of the tuk-tuk is described with pictures in the November article on the 2006 news page.
In July 2010 we opened a satellite clinic at Taita, some 270 kms North of the main clinic. The photograph below shows the sign for the Taita Clinic. You will find more photographs in the October 2010 news item.