Moses: Reaching out to the community
In Uganda, outreach camps are held across the country to identify people in need of eye health services. During these camps, eye conditions are diagnosed, treatment is provided on the spot, where possible, and if anyone is found to have advanced trachoma, they are offered trichiasis surgery which sometimes can even take place on the same day.
At Namusenwa Health Centre in Uganda, the first day of the outreach camp is the busiest with health workers giving eye care advice to a large group of patients. They are told about the various eye conditions that are prevalent in their area, where to find treatment and how to prevent eye conditions, such as trachoma.
During these camps, the project workers are sometimes informed of other people who need help who weren’t able to attend the camp. On one of these occasions, a Sightsavers Programme Officer called Moses, was called to a nearby village to meet a woman called Elizabeth. Elizabeth had refused surgery several times before as she had been told that, because the scarring from her trachoma was so advanced (on her outer eye), her sight could not be saved. She had, however, been told that the operation would relieve her pain which is caused by the eyelashes scratching her cornea.
Moses persuaded Elizabeth to come to the Health Centre for an operation. She was afraid of the pain and couldn’t see the point if the operation couldn’t save her sight, but after having the surgery, Elizabeth was thrilled; “I am free from pain, I am very happy for what you did!”
Moses and the teams’ ability to inform, reassure and help patients overcome any fears they might have about accepting surgery is making all the difference on the ground in communities like Namusenwa.