Mamite Kagnew lives in Konso in southern Ethiopia. For many years Mamite suffered from the excruciating pain of trachoma and her situation was becoming increasingly desperate as her sight was deteriorating rapidly. With virtually no sight and in constant pain, she was no longer able to work as a farmer and therefore unable to contribute to the family income. Her large family depended solely on her son’s income. In order to not feel like a burden on her family she continued to help around the home with cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children, although as the trachoma infection progressively got worse she became increasingly frail and her ability to help grew less and less.
Like so many women in rural Ethiopia, Mamite was unaware of what was causing the repeated trachoma infection and how to receive treatment. When an ORBIS trained health worker visited her home and examined her, it was clear that she had developed trichiasis – the blinding form of trachoma – and without immediate eye surgery she would eventually go blind. Mamite was naturally reluctant and scared although in her desperation she agreed to visit the Health Centre. So she walked the five kilometers to see Gedensho Gemeda, an ORBIS trained Eye Care Worker, who was conducting eye surgery to reverse the effects of trichiasis. Gedensho explained to Mamite how easy it is to prevent trachoma through good personal hygiene. He also recommended that she visit the Health Centre to take an annual dose of the antibiotic, zithromax (kindly donated by Pfizer), which protects individuals against trachoma. Three days later and Mamite’s bandages had been removed and her sight is restored. Mamite is now working as a farmer again and is able to provide for her family. She cooks, cleans and helps around the house and no longer feels like a burden on her family. She is overjoyed at being able to return to her normal life.
Help to transform lives with ORBIS and give people like Mamite the sight saving surgery they so desperately need.
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