Sérgio: Their sight in his hands
For Sérgio, an ophthalmologic technician in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, trachoma is often both a cause and an effect of poverty.
Poor sanitation and lack of education in disease prevention allow the infection to spread, and once it takes hold it destroys people’s capacity to be economically productive.
As head of external consultations in the provincial hospital in Pemba, Sérgio is at the centre of Mozambique’s efforts to eliminate trachoma. Since 2013 he has helped to train eight other trachoma trichiasis surgeons through the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Fund. He has a good relationship with the case finders who identify patients in need of treatment, and is well respected within the communities he works in.
“Trahoma affects more women than men, and I want to help these women because they are the ones responsible for looking after the children and their homes,” says Sérgio. “We are working with populations who have serious socio-economic problems and problems with water, and low levels of schooling, and this is why we need to help these women (and men) get back on their feet. These are our sisters and brothers.”