"I feel a sense of peace when doing the surgeries, knowing that I can help people improve their lives. Many people in Mozambique don't have the economic means to seek medical advice on their own so I feel a strong sense of responsibility to help them."
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is working with the Ministry of Health and members of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control to make significant advances towards eliminating blinding trachoma in Mozambique.
It is thanks to the dedication of people like Alda that steps are being taken to combat blinding trachoma in Mozambique’s communities. Alda has been working for the Mozambique Ministry of Health for 12 years and is passionate about helping people who are in need.
Alda studied nursing and then completed an ophthalmology technician’s course in Beira, Central Mozambique. Supported by the Trust’s programme, she subsequently received training to conduct surgery for patients suffering from blinding trachoma. She learnt how to perform trachoma trichiasis surgery using ‘Head Start,’ a lifelike training dummy that allows surgeons to practice their technique. Alda became certified in 2015 as a trachoma trichiasis surgeon in Cabo Delgado province, enabling her to perform surgery on patients in remote communities who are about to lose their sight because of blinding trachoma.
When asked how she felt when operating, Alda said, “I feel a sense of peace when doing the surgeries, knowing that I can help people improve their lives. Many people in Mozambique don’t have the economic means to seek medical advice on their own so I feel a strong sense of responsibility to help them.”
Alda has now performed more than 340 surgeries in Mozambique. Often the only women in her team, her sense of accomplishment particularly has grown as she has to spend days at a time in remote districts, operating in difficult conditions. “It can be challenging being away from home for days at a time and traveling long distances”, said Alda, “but I know I am helping people who are living with pain and it feels good to be able to do that.”
Alda’s experience in working with the Ministry of Health is varied and she has assisted many national health programs. When asked about her experience with The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative, she said, “I’ve learnt a lot from working on the programme and I have a new technical skill which I am grateful for. One of the most valuable aspects is feeling that I’m a part of each community I work in. The biggest lesson that I’ve learnt from the programme was realising that everyone is equal and everybody needs help.”
She now does surgeries at a quicker pace than she did when she first started and is a competent surgeon. Alda encourages young girls to follow their dreams and to make a difference in their society.
The Trust programme in Mozambique is led by the Ministry of Health with support from RTI International, Sightsavers, and Light for the World.