Kenyan University secures critical equipment thanks to international collaboration

The Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo and the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Peter Odera inspecting the equipment

Kenya’s Masinde Muliro University has benefited from equipment donations worth over USD 250,000 from Krogh Optikk, Norway as a result of an ongoing tripartite international collaboration between the University, The University of South-Eastern, Norway (USN) and Brien Holden Vision Institute based in Australia.

With the equipment, the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences will now be able to diagnose Glaucoma, a condition considered by public eye health experts as the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world and the third cause of preventable and/or treatable blindness. According to the department, MMUST is the only university in Kenya currently offering optometry at degree level.

This is a big boost to the department as the equipment will also make it possible to detect other vision-threatening illnesses such as Diabetic Retinopathy, an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness in people.

The specialized equipment (Humphrey Visual Field, Fundus Camera and Automated Tonometer) will be used to treat patients at the institute’s academic patient-center as well as during community outreaches. As the new machines are rare in government hospitals the institute is looking forward to receiving referrals from both the national and the county government.

This funded project by the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (NOREC), has also seen two (2) MMUST’s staff members from the department Optometry travel to Norway for a 13-month exchange programme at USN and another group of staff is expected to travel at a later date.

The collaboration also has enabled the department to receive two optometry specialists from Norway; the duo has been working in the University eye clinic where they have been providing eye health care to patients and at the department as part time lecturers.

The Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) is an Australian nonprofit, non-governmental organization with an international focus on eye care research and vision care delivery. Formerly the Institute for Eye Research, in 2010 it was renamed in recognition of co-founder Brien Holden, a 1997 recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for his contributions to eye care research.

Photo courtesy / MMUST website

Article by Kefa Lemaiyan