Abdulaziz: Providing for his family
No matter where you live, having an illness can affect your ability to work, earn a living and take care of your family. For people suffering from disabling eye problems in developing countries, daily life can be particularly difficult.
Abdulaziz Iliyasu is a 25-year-old married father of two from Katugi in northern Nigeria. He cares for his elderly mother and two brothers. To support his family, he worked as a motorbike rider, then as a farmer. Once he saved enough money to buy a sewing machine, he started his own tailoring business.
After a while Abdulaziz started to suffer from pain in his eyes, and for two years the pain gradually got worse until it became hard for him to see. It then became difficult for him to work. He tried to relieve the pain by using traditional medicine, but it didn’t help.
Fortunately, he heard about a free eye screening service taking place close to his home. He paid 20 naira (about 5p) for someone to drive him by motorbike to the screening, 5km from his home. Once there, he was diagnosed with advanced trachoma, an infectious eye disease that causes the eyelashes to grow inwards and rub against the eye.
Abdulaziz needed a minor operation to stop the constant pain and restore his sight. He was counselled by a health worker before the surgery to make sure he was comfortable. Afterwards the health worker supported him in his recovery, he was given an eye patch and the team arranged for him to be taken home by motorbike.
Five days after the surgery, the eye health workers visited Abdulaziz at his home. His eyes had healed very well and he is now able to see fully again. Now that the constant pain has been relieved and his eyesight is clear, he has gone back to work and can support his family once more.
Abdulaziz says: “I thank the people who made this surgery possible. I now realise that it is very effective, with immediate results, compared to the traditional medicine path I took.” He is so pleased with the result of the treatment he is now advocating for others with trachoma to have surgery, rather than spend their money on traditional medicine.