Mwita B Machage
"We want the government teams to feel ownership so that it becomes sustainable,"
Mwita is a Regional Eye Care Coordinator at the Ministry of Health, the government partner in the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative in Tanzania. He is responsible for eye health in the Lindi region, an area with a population of over 860,000 people located on the Southern coast of Tanzania.
Mwita is a busy man. As part of his role, he manages the district Eye-care Coordinators who implement the surgical camps, and liaises with the Sightsavers technical team to ensure implementation of the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative is going to plan.
He also works closely with the district teams in the field which enables him to examine patients, explain the treatment available for those suffering with trachoma at the surgical camps and offer advice for other eye conditions. Many of his health care workers are already in village healthcare positions and are therefore trusted by the community, which is increasing the reach and response to the surgical camps. Mwita explains: “The surgical teams are made up of local eye health staff and it’s the district health authority that provides the transport during activities – local services are already taking on some of the responsibility for the programme to show their support”.
For Mwita – and the Trachoma Initiative as a whole – in order to achieve significant and lasting change within the eye care sector, good relationships and communication between all levels within the eye health programme is vital: “Collaboration with the local teams is key and we want the government teams to feel ownership so that the programme becomes sustainable.”
It is through this collaboration, fostered by individuals like Mwita and which sees government and local health workers coming together to tackle trachoma, that such significant progress is being made towards the elimination of disease in Tanzania.