Magidu: Improving access to care
After conducting 400 eye operations, Magidu is very aware of the importance of what he does. With 11 years in eye care under his belt, he knows more than most about the misery caused by untreated eye diseases – and the transforming effect of treatment.
“Eliminating trachoma is important because it’s a blinding disease – if people are not helped they can go blind,” he says. “It is going down. We used to get so many, but with these camps they’ve reduced the number of trachoma trichiasis patients. When we stay in one place for three days, we are able to capture so many, despite the few who refuse surgery. I feel proud of saving people’s sight.”
Originally a general nurse, Magidu was sponsored by Sightsavers to train as an ophthalmic clinical officer (OCO) in 2005. He now plans and organises outreach camps, with a hand in every aspect; from personally persuading patients who need surgery to access it, to directing health workers and reporting back on the number of surgeries performed.
“I do general eye care work, but when Sightsavers provides the money we plan for a surgical campaign like this one. We have few health care workers in this district so we invite manpower from other districts which allows us to run camps in up to 80 health centres in one go. Unless we are sponsored we can’t get transport and other logistics.”
The greatest challenge from Magidu’s perspective is the refusal of patients to undergo surgery, despite having been educated about its benefits.
“We tell them it’s important that we operate, but some of them refuse despite counselling. Even here we have patients who don’t come. Maybe they have the wrong information, or they might have fears. There’s one lady who lives just 1.5km from here. I told her about the eye camp but she hasn’t come. I feel she would be helped, as she’s in pain, but I don’t know why she won’t come.”