Posts tagged as: health

This Costs Just Cents and Could Prevent Half-a-Million Children From Going Blind

The substance is critical in pregnancy and in the development of children; a lack of it has dire consequences.

At first Grace Mwatathe was not too worried. Yes, in the twilight she did struggle to tell which was her goat to milk, even though it was only a herd of five. And in the evening she could no longer find her cooking utensils by the light of her lantern.

Maybe it was her pregnancy playing tricks with her mind, Mwatathe thought. Or perhaps it was an effect of the heat as the drought slowly strangled the life out of animals and plants; not only in Matsanjeni village, but in the whole of the coastal Kilifi county in southeast Kenya.

But, as her nightly trips to the pit latrine increased in the weeks before she was due to give birth, she realised she was in serious trouble – she would wander off course and trip over objects as she could no longer see anything in the dark.

Fearing for her unborn child’s safety, Mwatathe visited the local clinic. There a doctor diagnosed her with maternal night blindness and explained that her inability to see normally after dusk or at night was caused by a deficiency in vitamin A.

It can be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach as well as in orange and yellow vegetables and fruit, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and mangoes. Liver, kidney, milk, cheese, cream and butter are also rich sources of the vitamin.

The main cause of for a vitamin A deficiency is malnutrition.

Although the vitamin is generally essential for good health – it is involved in the growth of all cells – the need for it is particularly critical during periods of rapid growth and early childhood, as explained in a 2001 study in the peer-reviewed academic journal Food and Nutrition Bulletin.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient, the researchers write, because of its important roles in vision, reproduction, growth and the immune system.

In pregnant women, vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness and often also increases the risk of a mother dying while giving birth, or shortly thereafter, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from a shortage of the vitamin in the third trimester of pregnancy when the nutritional demands of the developing fetus and the mother are the highest.

The WHO does not recommend routine vitamin A supplements for pregnant women, unless there is a severe public health problem relating to a deficiency in their country, and then only in low doses.

Vitamin A deficiency becomes a public health problem when more than 1% of school children and 5% or more of pregnant women have xerophthalmia (abnormally dry eyes), which can develop into vitamin A-related night blindness, a 2009 study in the Journal of Ophthalmic Epidemiology found.

Times of scarcity set their sights on mothers, babies

The WHO says that pregnant women should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, rather than opt for vitamin A supplements.

But that was far beyond Mwatathe’s means. “I could hardly afford a meal, let alone a balanced diet,” she shrugs.

Kilifi county is one of Kenya’s farming areas that has been so hard hit by three seasons of low rainfall that the government declared a drought emergency in February. The cost of food has skyrocketed as the drought decimated cattle and goats and successive crops failed.

Mwatathe believes it was inevitable that she would become ill. It was the effect of her poor diet on her baby’s health that worried her more than her own wellbeing, especially after the doctor explained that her breast milk might not contain enough vitamin A for the baby to thrive after birth.

For children, a lack of vitamin A leads to severe visual impairment and blindness: it is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide, says the WHO. It also causes anaemia and raises the risk of disease and death from common childhood illnesses such as measles and diarrhoea.

The organisation estimates up to half-a-million children who lack vitamin A become blind every year. Half of them die within 12 months of losing their sight. In many African countries, where nearly 50% of children between the ages of six months and five years are affected, vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem.

Since her son’s birth nine months ago, Mwatathe has been checking him for signs of illness. Although she has not noticed any problems with his eyesight, physical growth or cognitive abilities, she has brought him to her clinic. Here she has been waiting patiently in a long queue, the gurgling baby strapped tightly on her back.

“I don’t want to take chances,” she says. “My baby isn’t ill, but I have brought him for a vitamin A supplement, just in case.”

What’s the price of good eye sight? Just a few cents it turns out

Giving children supplements make them more resistant to disease and reduces the chances of them dying by about 23%, according to Unicef data.

The supplements are normally given in the form of either a syrup or a soft gelatin capsule.

One dose between six and 11 months and thereafter two each year until a child is five are needed to prevent vitamin A-related diseases, including blindness.

The WHO, however, stresses that eating a diet that includes foods rich in vitamin A is the first choice.

Some countries fortify staple food by adding minerals and vitamins to products such as maize and wheat flour or rice.

But, until these programmes have been widely implemented, Unicef says, vitamin A supplementation programmes are crucial to ensure child survival. And at just two American cents a supplement dosage, it comes cheaply, the World Bank points out.

Studies show that more than 80 countries worldwide have implemented vitamin A supplementation programmes for children under five.

School-based programmes no cure-all

In 2007, the Kenyan government started its Malezi Bora (Good Nurturing) initiative, which includes vitamin A supplementation, immunisation and growth monitoring. The food security and nutrition policy followed in 2012 and the Nutrition Action Plan 2012-2017.

But 84% of children in Kenya under the age of five still lack vitamin A, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2014. The country’s demographic and health survey 2014 found routine coverage was less than 50%, much lower than the WHO recommendation of 80%. Only about a quarter of children under five received two high doses of vitamin A supplements in 2015.

One of the greatest challenges for providing vitamin A supplements has been finding the right mechanism to get it to younger children, a Unicef report on vitamin supplementation shows.

Until last year, vitamin A supplements were provided through schools, which meant children under five, who are most vulnerable to the effects of vitamin A deficiency, were not being reached.

Kenya’s ministry of health and three international nongovernmental organisations are running a mass drug administration programme to bridge this gap.

Called Every Child Thrives, the four-year project in the sub-counties of Kilifi and Siaya was launched last year by the international aid organisation, Medical Assistance Programmes International, Effect Hope and Vitamin Angels, with funding from the Canadian government.

The programme addresses intestinal worm infections, which cause and can aggravate malnutrition and anaemia, in addition to vitamin A.

“Intestinal worms contribute to vitamin A deficiency and exacerbate malnutrition and anaemia,” explains Jane Muller from Effect Hope.

Children under five get deworming medicines and a vitamin A supplement every six months at health facilities such as clinics, early childhood development centres and in community outreach programmes.

Julien Ake, a senior technical adviser at Effect Hope, adds that the education of parents and children’s guardians will play a crucial role.

“Our goal is to see parents increase their demand for supplementation of vitamin A and deworming for their children and ensure that the demand is met 100%,” says Ake.

Mwatathe needs little encouragement. Her experience with night blindness is still fresh. As she slowly shuffles to the front of the snaking clinic queue, she says: “I do not want my child to go through what I did if I can get the medicine here.”

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Poor Batting ‘Cost Kenya’ Victory Against Uganda

By Richard Mwangi

Kenya women’s cricket team manager, Lydia Kaparo, has said mistakes in batting cost the squad a place in Saturday’s final of ICC Africa Women’s World Twenty20 qualifier in Namibia.

Kaparo also said the squad did not play as a unit against Uganda in the second and third-place play-off match. Uganda won the match by three wickets on Friday and qualified to play Zimbabwe in the final at Kenya’s expense. Uganda went on to beat Zimbabwe by three wickets to claim Africa’s only slot in ICC Global Women’s T20 qualifiers.

She said: “My players did not give 100 per cent performance. We had a strong team but batters failed to post defendable figures on the scoreboard. Small mistakes here and there like misfielding, dropped catches and run outs cost us dearly.”

“Even though we lost, I’m happy for Uganda’s victory because at least an East African team has ended Zimbabwe’s domination in the tournament.”

Kenya, who finished third behind Uganda and Zimbabwe, returned home on Monday.

Hosts Namibia settled for fourth position and Tanzania were last.

Uganda caused a major upset when they beat Zimbabwe by three wickets to clinch the solitary position reserved for the continent in the ICC Global Women’s World Twenty20 qualifier, where the two finalists will qualify for the next year’s Women’s World Twenty20 set for West Indies from November 2-25.

Uganda’s team is coached by a Kenyan, Frank Otieno, but he did not travel with the girls to Namibia due to some technicalities on his travel document.

Zimbabwe topped the points table in the group matches and waited for a winner in the play-off for the second and third positions between Kenya and Uganda.

The match between the two East African sides was a thriller. Uganda edged out Kenya with the fifth ball of the allotted 20 overs.

Kenya batted first and scored 89 runs and in reply Uganda reached the target, 90 with the fifth ball of the last over.

In the final between Zimbabwe and Uganda, Zimbabwe scored 99 runs and Uganda reached the target, 100 with three wickets and three balls in hand.

The next biannual ICC Africa Women’s World Twenty20 qualifier will take place in 2019.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

‘Terror Groups Pose Biggest Threat to Kenya’s Security’

By David Mwere

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has singled out terrorism as the biggest threat to Kenya’s national security and development.

In a report presented during the induction of MPs Wednesday, NIS Deputy Assistant Director Alexander Muteshi said that the threat remains high in border counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu.

Mr Muteshi told the MPs that the threats are propagated by terrorist organisations like the Al-Shabaab that has its cells in neighbouring Somalia and the Islamic State (IS) group that operates in Puntland, Libya, Syria and Iraq.

“What makes the threats dangerous is that they are targeting churches, malls, schools and other public places. But the success against this is the multi-agency approach we have adopted to deal with them,” Mr Muteshi said.

He pointed out that the threats have been pushed away from the cities to the border areas.

COUNTER TERRORISM

He also noted that the National Counter Terrorism Centre has helped in building resilience through educating the youth, the masses and religious groups.

According to Mr Muteshi, the country is already dealing with over 200 returnees from Somalia in South Coast, who are targeting Nyumba Kumi elders, locals and the police.

Some of these gangs are said to operate in groups christened as the Gaza boys, Wakali Wao and Wakali Kwanza, among others.

RADICALISATION

He also said that online radicalisation, which is a global problem, is another threat.

It is propagated by IS and targets the youth tertiary learning institutions like universities and colleges.

“We are facing an enemy [who] is highly radicalised, [who] has no value for human life, highly idealised and highly trained both militarily and intelligence-wise. They have logisticians who are responsible for transporting weapons and their other logistical requirements,” he said.

LOCAL POLITICS

Mr Muteshi also warned politicians that ethnic local politics has affected cohesion, development and unity of the country and that it is polarising.

“If it is not dealt with, it will always be there every election year,” he said.

Other external threats, according to the NIS report, include espionage, regional instability like in Somalia and South Sudan and the competition for benefits arising from national interests.

The MPs, more so the new ones, were advised on how they should engage with diplomats as they may fall into the trap of espionage.

“Be very careful with what you share with diplomats, they are intelligence officers,” Mr Muteshi told them.

Supreme Court Asked to Overturn Ruling Over Judges’ Conduct

By Sam Kiplagat

The Supreme Court has been asked to overturn a decision it handed down, nullifying the August 8 presidential election over allegations of impropriety against two of its judges.

In an application dated September 19, Prof Michael Wainaina wants the verdict annulled, saying the judgment can no longer be regarded as a majority decision, if it is proved that Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Justice Isaac Lenaola were in contact with lawyers who represented Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga during the hearing of the presidential petition.

Prof Wainaina, through his lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, argued that the integrity of the majority decision cannot stand in light of the allegations of impropriety, possible corruption, and violation of the Judicial Code of Ethics by the two judges.

“It ought to be vacated in toto, neither can it be regarded any more as a majority decision capable of sustenance,” he said.

Mr Kinyanjui said the accusations of unlawful interactions of the two judges with the petitioners and their advocates to influence the outcome of the case creates the impression that justice “was peddled for corrupt and undue influence, and was for sale, and, indeed, was sold”.

The court delivered its judgment on September 1.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Nigeria: Nurses, Midvives, Other Health Workers to Commence Strike

The major unions of health workers have announced the commencement of their nationwide strike on Wednesday.

The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professionals, JOHESU, and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, announced the strike on Tuesday.

According to a statement signed by the National President of NANNM, Abdrafiu Adeniji, all nurses and midwives in all federal health institutions are to proceed on an indefinite strike action from midnight of Wednesday.

Mr. Adeniji said the association is in agreement with all JOHESU’s positions on the recent seven-day ultimatum given to the federal government to accede to all its lingering demands dated back to 2012.

The strike is coming barely a week after the National Association of Resident Doctors suspended its strike.

The healtht workers had earlier threatened to embark on an indefinite industrial action that would shut down operations in public hospitals due to the prolonged delay by the federal government in meeting their demands.

Their demands include payment of arrears of specialist allowances and upgrade of their members due for promotion.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had pleaded with the leadership of JOHESU, not to embark on its planned industrial action.

Mr. Adewole said that the government would continue negotiation with the union and hoped that a consensus would be reached on the issues in contention.

JOHESU comprises all the other professional groups in the health sector and forms about 95 percent of health workers and health care providers in Nigeria.

Nigeria

IMF Puts Global Cost of Bribery At U.S.$2 Trillion Annually

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Runtown, Sheebah to Shoot Video in Kigali

By Donata Kiiza

Nigerian artiste Runtown and Ugandan queen of dancehall Sheebah Karungi are expected in Kigali this week ahead of the highly anticipated “Runtown Kigali Experience” on September 23 at Amahoro Stadium’s main parking lot in Remera.

The concert will also feature performances by talented local artistes Bruce Melodie, Charly and Nina, Active, and Emprah Jahboy.

After the show, the two singers will shoot the video for their latest collaboration- Weekend. The tune, which is in Luganda and English, has a blend of Nigerian and Ugandan touch, and is the first musical project the duo has worked on together.

The song’s official audio was released in August this year, and it is already enjoying massive airplay on various music stations in Uganda. It was recorded and produced by producer Nessim at Badi music studio in Kampala.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of I Factory Africa, Collin Mugabo, who is bringing Runtown and Sheebah in Kigali, the artistes chose to shoot their music video in Rwanda because of its beautiful natural scenery and weather. Runtown, born Douglas Jack Agu is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and producer. His popular songs include Mad Over You, For Life, Lagos To Kampala and Money Bag. Sheebah Karungi, 28, is a Ugandan recording artiste, dancer and actress. After quitting Obsessions, a dance group she joined in 2006, she rose to fame upon the release of her hit single titled Ice Cream. She is a common figure on the local music stage, having graced several concerts in the country.

Rwanda

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Tekno and Eazi Show Didn’t Live Up to Hype

By Andrew Kaggwa

The Tekno Miles and Mr Eazi concert that took place at Lugogo Cricket Oval on Friday was one of the most anticipated concerts this year.

From the way it was initially launched to the final press conference, the organisers, Talent Africa, alongside their sponsors, Bell Lager, promised heaven in a concert.

And you couldn’t blame them. Tekno, born Augustine Miles Kelechi, is one of the most exciting artistes from Nigeria at the moment, receiving a wide rotation of at least one of every twenty songs played off channels like MTV Base, Trace TV, Hip TV, Sound City and Afro Music, among others.

Since the release of his debut single, Holiday, in 2013, Tekno has slowly been a rising star in Nigeria. But for the rest of Africa, many started following the skinny artiste after the release of songs like Duro, Pana and Diana, among others.

Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade alias Mr Eazi, on the other hand, is a Ghana-based Nigerian artiste who pioneered Banku music, a fusion sound of Ghanaian bounces, highlife and Nigerian chord progression and patterns.

Much as he too has been around since 2013, it’s only after the release of his Skin Tight that he received international acclaim, later signing on with Wizkid’s Starboy Entertainment.

The two artistes have taken Africa by storm in the past year and to imagine a cocktail of them both was expected to be nothing less than the party of the year.

Much as the audience was cheering the list of curtain raiser acts that included Ykee Benda and Cindy, the energy was set to die with the appearance of the night’s hosts, Mc Kats and Anita Fabiola, who were not cut for the job.

Fabiola lacked the mettle to excite the crowd. She struggled to keep up with Mc Kats and it only got worse when he left her to do the rest of the job by herself.

You can imagine the looks on the producers’ faces after she announced Bebe Cool as the next performer yet he had been lined up as a surprise act!

Silk Events’ sound system couldn’t save the day, either. After being tremendous for half of the show, things just got messed up with some of the speakers going off during Mr Eazi’s performance and barely recovering.

With songs like Skin Tight, Dance For Me and Leg Over, he and the band got the audience dancing, but in bits. Being a new artiste on the scene, he lacked a catalogue to keep such an audience entertained all through.

Tekno, on the other hand, having had a slew of club bangers like Pana, Go, Diana and Yawa, could have owned the night.

Coming from a bad performance in Kenya just a week back, the artiste could have managed to get East Africa trust him even more, thanks to his stage presence.

However, performance lacked the feel. It’s like he was there just to finish the job and leave, as he kept signaling his DJ and band, ‘next song’ even before the crowd screams were down. The show ended a few minutes to midnight with Fabiola letting the crowd down once more – intentionally.

“Do you still need more of Tekno? I am sorry that can’t happen!”

Nigeria: Lawmakers Order Banks to Unblock Patience Jonathan’s Accounts

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has directed six commercial banks to free accounts operated by former first lady, Patience Jonathan.

The committee chaired by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (Abia-PDP), gave the directive on Tuesday in Abuja at a hearing on a petition by Mrs. Jonathan.

The affected banks are Union Bank, First Bank, EcoBank, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had directed the banks to freeze the accounts over allegations of corruption in the sources of the funds.

Officials of Union Bank, led by a lawyer, Kenneth Otowo, had told the panel that the bank placed Mrs. Jonathan’s account under a ‘precautionary restriction’ following a directive by the EFCC.

“We received a communication from EFCC to put a precautionary restriction on the account. The letter was dated March 21, 2016, so we had to act based on that,” he said.

But, the committee deplored the action, saying the bank could only take such decision if EFCC proved that it had obtained a court order to that effect.

“Until EFCC proves otherwise, I’ll ask you to remove the precautionary restriction on the account. Let me tell you, whatever you’ll do, you must follow the law. A bank can’t hold a legal entity to ransom.

“I want to order all other banks that all the accounts that have no specific pending order from the courts, please release them,” the committee chairman said.

The counsel to EcoBank, Afam Osigwe, said Mrs. Jonathan’s account could not have been on restriction because there was no court order to that effect.

He later said that the bank would cross-check its records and get back to the committee.

As for Diamond Bank, Mr. Jonathan’s lawyers said three of her accounts were frozen there.

However, Unoma Ndulue, who represented the bank, said two out of the three accounts were fully operative, while one was closed.

On Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers said they did not have a direct issue with the bank, but that it was through the EFCC.

Officials of First Bank and Skye Bank were not present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the committee has given Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC acting Chairman, up to October 4 to appear before it or have arrest warrant issued against him.

Similarly, the panel asked Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to reconcile their positions on an alleged tax default of over N10 million.

FIRS had said that Aridolf Resort Wellness and SPA, owned by Mrs Jonathan, failed to pay taxes in spite of serial reminders.

However, her lawyers insisted that they had paid all their taxes to the agency.

Tanzania: Former Minister Speaks About Accident That Claimed Relatives

Photo: Daily Monitor

Gregory Teu

By By John Namkwahe

Former deputy minister for finance Gregory Teu, whose relatives perished in a road accident in Masaka, Uganda, spoke about the loss of family members.

Mr Teu said he learnt the sad news, when he and his wife landed at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA).

Mr Teu revealed that after a wedding ceremony which was held on Saturday, Sept 16 in Kampala-Uganda, he and his wife boarded the plane from Uganda to Dar es salaam via Nairobi while the rest left Uganda for Dar es salaam by a mini-bus on Sunday at around 4 PM.

“We left Uganda for Dar es Salaam by the plane at midnight and landed at JNIA at around 2 AM.” Adding “After landing at the Airport, I received the call from Uganda, informing about the deaths, we were very shocked and saddened by the reports.”

The 13 Tanzanians who on Saturday killed in a road accident in Uganda will be buried in Dodoma and Kilimanjaro regions.

This was revealed by the former Deputy Minister of Finance and Mpwapwa constituency MP Mr Gregory Teu when he spoke to journalists at his residence in Kaunda Drive street in Osysterbay on Tuesday, Sept 19.

Mr Teu noted the deceased bodies have been transferred from Kampala-Uganda to Dar es salaam- Tanzania today on Wednesday by a plane in which the deceased bodies will be received at Julius Nyerere International Airport today at around 8:40 PM.

“After receiving the bodies, we will keep them at Lugalo hospital where the final prayers for the deceased will be conducted in the hospital tomorrow on Thursday,” he said.

He added “On same day, we will transfer the bodies to Mpwapwa in Dodoma and Moshi in Kilimanjaro for funeral,”

Seven deceased bodies killed in a road accident are relatives of Mr Teu while the remaining six are relatives of the former Deputy Minister ‘s wife, Mrs Teu, confirmed Mr Teu.

“Funeral procedures will take place in Mpwapwa -Dodoma on Thursday where the six deceased bodies whom are my relatives will be buried there and on same day we will travel to Moshi -Kilimanjaro to attend another funeral procedure for the remaining seven, my wife ‘s relatives, ” he said.

He also noted that the six survivors of the accident will continue to receive medical treatment in Uganda, saying they will return to Tanzania after they fully recover from injuries they sustained in the accident.

“The survivors have been hospitalized in the hospital in Kampala-Uganda where they receive treatment,” he said.

Adding “One out of six survivors are my relatives while two are my wife’s relative and two survivors are my wife’s close friends,”

Mr Teu further thanked the fifth phase government under President John Magufuli administration and the government of Uganda for their support they have shown to his family during this difficult time.

“I thank the governments of Tanzania and Uganda for the support. Ugandan government funded the flight costs while Tanzanian government has provided us with two buses which we will use for transporting the deceased bodies from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma and Kilimanjaro for funeral procedures, ” he said.

Ethiopia: Sun Optics, Essilor Couples to Tap Optics’ Market

By Hawi Abdisa

Sun Optical Technologies (SOT), a renowned eyeglass supplier, partnered with Essilor Group, a French-based company, to set up eyecare centres and eyeglass manufacturing plants with an investment capital of about 100 million Br.

Berhane Abraha, managing director of SOT and Thibault Michels, managing director of Essilor East Africa, signed the joint venture agreement at Intercontinental Hotel on September 14, 2017.

Having 51pc share in the joint venture, Essilor has been negotiating with SOT for two years before concluding the partnership pact.

The agreement entails the opening of 200 eyecare centres throughout the country, of which 97 outlets will be in Addis, whereas the remaining will be in nine regional states.

The gap between the demand and supply of optics attracted Essilor to invest in Ethiopia, according to Michels.

“In Ethiopia, one optical shop serves 900,000 individuals, implying an enormous potential and unexplored areas in the country,” he explained.

The partnership also includes setting up eyeglass producing centres in Hawassa, Gonder, and Dire Dawa within three months. An investment worth two million dollars is reserved for the implementation of the project.

This will raise the production capacity of Sun, whose existing manufacturing centre is around Sidst Kilo, by three folds to 450 glasses a day. It will also create job opportunities for 75 individuals, pushing Sun’s number of employees to 185.

The duo has already finalised preparations to open 22 of the centres in the coming two weeks. Megenagna, Qera, Bisrate Gebriel, Lideta and Arat Kilo are amongst the spots where the new centres will be opened.

To realise the centres, SOT has entered a franchise agreement with 15 businesses with an investment worth between 300,000 Br and 1.4 million Br, last Thursday.

With the aim of advancing more into the market, SOT also plans to establish centres in public hospitals, which will enable them to leverage 25pc of the profit made from the centres.

“This is to make the service affordable to the working class,” said Berhane.

Essilor will give training and create awareness about the importance of screening and regular check-ups in centres that are going to be opened in rural parts of the country, according to the agreement.

Established two decades ago, SOT has mainly been supplying lenses and frames to eye clinics, optical shops, hospitals and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), producing a wide range of lenses from entry-level products to high-end branded products.

Essilor Group is a company known for producing ophthalmic lenses and ophthalmic optical equipment. It was formed in 1972 after the merger of Essel and Silor; it currently has 61,000 employees. Last year, the company generated revenues of eight billion dollars.

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