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Major project tackles vision loss in Kenya

School children wait to have their vision screened in Uasin Gishu, Kenya.

Credit: Operation Eyesight/Peek Vision

A new, large-scale project using Peek’s programme design, software and data intelligence platform has launched in Kenya, aiming to reduce vision loss and avoidable blindness across 10 counties. The Vision Impact Project is led by the Kenyan Ministry of Health and CBM Christian Blind Mission, in partnership with other eye health organisations, and will run for four years.

More than eight million people are set to benefit from the initiative, which will strengthen health systems and provide inclusive access to quality eye care. It is funded by CBM and BMZ (The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). 

The project was officially launched at a special event on 21 April 2022 by Dr. Rashid Abdi Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Health. Peek team members demonstrated to Dr Aman the Peek software and data intelligence platform being used by the project partners to increase access to eye care services.

Team members Cosmas Bunywera and Dr Hillary Rono demonstrate Peek technology to the Kenya Ministry of Health’s Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Rashid Aman, at the project launch event.

Non-eye health specialists such as community health volunteers are being trained to use Peek’s smartphone or tablet-based app, in order to accurately test people’s vision and refer those with eye problems to care. This frees up eye health professionals’ time to focus on those patients requiring specialist treatment. Peek’s software and data intelligence platform is being used to follow the patient journey from screening to treatment using real-time data. This approach supports progress towards Universal Health Coverage by identifying any gaps and inequalities in services to ensure that no one is left behind. 

Peek Vision has a strong history of collaboration with partners in Kenya. Peek began life in 2012 as a part of a research project in Nakuru, Kenya, led by Dr Andrew Bastawrous. Dr Bastawrous collaborated with Dr Hillary Rono, a fellow ophthalmologist working in Kitale where he served a large, rural population. Together, they worked with partners such as Operation Eyesight Universal in Kenya and elsewhere to develop and test Peek technology. Today, Peek tools are in use in schools and communities in 10 countries across Africa and Asia, helping eye health providers optimise their services.

Commenting on the launch of the Vision Impact Project, Dr Hillary Rono, who continues to work with Peek Vision, said: “In Kenya, specialist eye health resources are limited and people often have to travel long distances to care. This project will bring quality eye care services closer to the people that need them. Peek is a health innovation born in Kenya, and I am proud that it is now being used by partners to benefit millions of Kenyans in this ambitious project.”  

The Vision Impact Project is aligned with the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s National Eye Health Strategic Plan, Kenya’s Vision 2030 strategy, the World Health Organization’s priorities on vision and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.