KCMC introduces cornea transplant service

THE Moshi based KCMC Zonal Referral Hospital (KCMC ZRH) in Kilimanjaro region has recorded another milestone after introducing cornea transplant procedure, a move which restores hope to patients with cornea problems.

According to medical experts, cornea transplant is an operation to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy donor tissue.

Speaking during the launching of the service at the zonal health facility over the weekend, the KCMC ZRH’s Cornea Transplant Specialist, Dr Elisante Muna, said the service will save cost incurred by patients who seek the service outside the country.

“It costs one patient a total of 2,000 US dollars (equivalent to 4.6m/-) to get the cornea transplant services outside the country, the cost is apart  from  fares  and accommodation, therefore the introduction of these services here at the KCMC is a big relief due to the fact that it will reduce the high costs  incurred by patients  who seek the service  abroad”, he said.

Dr Muna further said that in the first three days of the introduction of the services, a total of 24 patients were subject to different cornea treatments which were introduced at the health facility including that of the cornea transplant.

“There are different stages of providing the new cornea related services; the first one is Keratocus problem which if detected early a patient could only receive treatment  known as cross linking; if the patient delayed to follow treatment and the problem advances then he or she will be required to undergo cornea transplant “, he said.

Dr Muna named another services as those of the dystrophy and cornea scar which he said are provided through the transplant system.

He advised people to make sure they report immediately to experts once they feel something unusual in their eyes so as to avoid the advancement of the problem if its related to cornea.

“Cornea cross linking treatment is the earliest which will make patients avoid cornea transplant, it is better for people to build a culture of conducting regular health checkup in order to detect any symptoms related to cornea problem”, he noted.

He added, “many patients who come here at KCMC are already in advanced stage which needs them to undergo transplant.

Dr Muna further said that, apart from adults, the new service concerns also children whom he said are receiving treatment through the pediatric eye treatment programme at the hospital.

“Children are very easy to monitor to discover if they have a problem related to cornea; when a parent or guardian notices a child rubbing eyes caused by allergies, should take him or her to the experts immediately so that he or she can get initial treatment to avoid cornea transplant”, he said.

On his part, one of the beneficiaries of the new cornea transplant service, Mr Simon Shayo, thanked the management of the KCMC Zonal Referral Hospital for the service they provided him, which he said had restored him hope he lost after losing his sight.

“I started eye treatments in 1994, I got relief but in the early 2000s the problem came back whereby I lost my sight again whereby I was forced to quit my job; I am grateful for this new cornea transplant service because now I am able to see again; I hope to return back to my job soon”, he said.

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