Children born in many African countries do not receive more attention as far as eye care is concerned.
A good number of them are born in semi-furnished hospital or maternity units, and another big group are delivered at home with assistance from traditional birth attendants. Luckily many survives due to many factors. This doesnt mean that infant mortarity rate is low.
Among the commonest eye problem noted immediately after delivery, is neonatal conjunctivitis which can be caused by germs mostly from the mother's birth canal, however, some of them can acquire the infection during the delivery process or shortly after delivery if level of eye hygiene is poor.
Serious complications can come from diseases like gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
Typically the child presents with eye discharge which can be copious and eyes may be swollen sometimes grossly. The child might cry like ringing bell.
If no treatment is given, the child might suffer severe complications including perforation of the eyes and blindness is a life long painful end result.
It is unfortunate that in many African rural hospitals they do not provide eye treatment immediate after birth which can help to reduce incidences of neonatal eye infections.
It has been recommended to give antibiotics eye drops immediately after delivery. Drugs such as rifamycine eye drops are effective for both chlamydia and gonococcal conjunctivitis, therefore it is wise to give this treatment as prophylaxis (protection) immediately after delivery. The major problem is availability of such drugs in the rural communities where more than 70% of children are born there.
Let's improve the eye health of the less privileged children. Let's help them.
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