WHO gives first eye check-up for Ebola survivors

April 2019 Health & Science
A young Ebola survivor gets his eyes checked for any serious eye conditions. Image source: WHO/J. D. Kannah

The World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), organized for the first time an eye clinic in Beni, DRC, one of the Ebola affected areas, from March 25 to April 1 following the West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016.

Approximately 20% of survivors were known to have suffered from a variety of vision problems, including reduced or blurred vision due to inflammation of the eyes. More than 250 survivors were checked for possible Ebola-linked eye diseases.

Another eye clinic was put up in the other affected area, Butembo, to bring specialized care to the survivors by identifying and treating early vision issues that may consequently lead to serious problems such as blindness.

Ophthalmologists from various institutions extended their services for the outreach. Among these institutions were Emory University, University of North Carolina, and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. In addition, the programme trained 10 Congolese ophthalmologists to employ specialized eye care for Ebola afflicted patients. Follow up check will be conducted each month, in addition to general medical care.