Combating Blindness: The Safari Collection Host Eye Clinic In Samburu

The Safari Collection (owners of Fellow Member Sasaab) recently partnered with Meak & Smilestar for its 4th eye surgery.


A team of 12 working at two different locations for a week each, screened or treated approximately 3400 patients and performed 199 life-changing surgeries to give people back their sight.

The first clinic was held at the consultation rooms and surgical theatre of the Mary Immaculate Hospital in Mweiga outside Solio Lodge, while the second was at The Long Run Fellow Member Sasaab, where a field hospital was set up in the guide tents. Doctors and nurses were sent to markets, manyattas and schools to conduct screenings and bring patients back to the lodge for surgeries.

During the week at Solio, the team screened and treated 1759 patients and performed 170 cataract surgeries. The team also visited four local schools and screened a further 600 hundred children of whom 171 required treatment for a variety of eye infections, especially conjunctivitis.


Over the course of the week at Sasaab, 331 adult patients were screened and three schools visited where a further 700 children were screened. The team carried out 28 successful cataract surgeries and one trachoma surgery.


An estimated 320,000 people live with blindness in Kenya and a further 750,000 with visual impairment. Sadly, 80% of those people suffer from a condition that is either curable or preventable. Cataracts are responsible for 43% of blindness in Kenya and trachoma accounts for a further 19% of cases, both can normally be cured with simple surgical procedures.


However, 75% of Kenyans living in rural areas have poor access to health services in general and almost no access to qualified ophthalmologists. Even for those with access to good eye doctors, the surgery to cure their conditions can remain out of reach due to the relatively high cost of procedures.


The Safari Collection first partnered with Medical and Educational Aid to Kenya (MEAK) in 2011 and 2012, bringing free ophthalmic services to community at Sasaab and then again in 2014 for the community around Solio. SmileStar, whom they’ve partnered with for the last two years to provide dental services, provided a large part of the sponsorship to enable this eye clinic.


A month after the surgeries, the MEAK team were able to visit 80% of the patients to check up on their progress and the condition of their eyes. The patients were very happy with their surgical outcomes. They had hoped to check on 100% but not all patients returned on the agreed days.

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