TANZANIA —TanZaEye, in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church, has successfully constructed a state-of-the-art St Aloyce eye theater clinic in Mpanda Municipality, Katavi Region.

The establishment of this eye facility, which cost 1.09 billion Tanzanian shillings (US$ 460,887), marks a significant milestone as it becomes the first of its kind in the region since its official establishment in 2012.

The clinic will play a vital role in providing comprehensive and high-quality eye care services as part of the prevention of avoidable blindness program in the Western regions of Rukwa, Katavi, and Kigoma.

To ensure the provision of comprehensive eye care services, TanZaEye has invested 332 million Tanzanian shillings in specialized eye equipment, which has been installed at the facility.

This state-of-the-art equipment will enable the clinic to serve over 100 patients per day, offering eye examinations, treatments, and cataract surgeries.

The aim is to address the increasing number of individuals with eye diseases in the region, which has been attributed to factors such as late reporting for medical treatments and poor eating habits.

During the inauguration of the eye theater facility, Right Rev Bishop Eusebius Nzingirwa of the Roman Catholic Sumbawanga Diocese expressed the need for collaborative efforts to tackle the growing eye health challenges in the region.

He acknowledged the partnership between the diocese, the Katavi regional government, TanZaEye institution, and other stakeholders to address these issues.

The Resident Representative for TanZaEye, Linuma Rainer, highlighted the significant investment made in constructing the eye clinic and procuring medical equipment, amounting to over 1.09 billion Tanzanian shillings (US$ 460,887).

This substantial investment demonstrates the commitment of TanZaEye and its partners to improving eye care services in the region.

Dr. Karsten Paust, the Programme Director for TanZaEye, outlined the services that will be provided at the facility, including eye care surgical outreach clinics, cataract surgeries, and the presence of optometrists and ophthalmic nurses.

This comprehensive approach aims to address the eye health needs of the community effectively.

To enhance the effectiveness of the clinic, Dr. Jonathan Budenu, the Katavi Regional Medical Officer, emphasized the importance of education and awareness among citizens about the significance of regular eye examinations and timely treatments.

He highlighted the risks associated with seeking treatment from traditional healers, who often use local herbs and traditional methods that may not be successful and could lead to complete blindness.

Previously, patients in the region were referred to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) for specialized eye treatments.

Dr. Budenu further revealed that approximately 192,000 individuals, equivalent to 1% of the population of Katavi Region, were diagnosed with eye complications in 2022.

This statistic underscores the urgent need for improved eye care services and access to timely treatments within the region.

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