Meet Yeshiemebet, a compassionate nurse who has been helping eliminate trachoma in the SNNPR region where Orbis has been active for many years.
After fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and working at a health center in her hometown, Yeshiemebet’s developed an interest in eye care and was recruited and trained by Orbis as one of the first health workers in the Sidama region to carry out trachomatous trichiasis surgeries (when repeated trachoma infections cause the eyelashes to turn inward and rub against the eyeball, eventually causing irreversible vision loss).
After performing this surgery for six years, she told us: “I am interested in eye care service because the eye is one of the main organs of our body. And it is a rewarding responsibility to be able to restore people’s sight before they face blindness.”
Yeshiemebet also works on Trachoma Impact Surveys as a Recorder, critical work which tracks progress in eliminating the disease and helps target prevention efforts most effectively.
She was specially trained by Orbis to carry out these surveys, going home-to-home, assessing the community’s susceptibility to infection, and finding preventative solutions; an impactful and rewarding role she has held for three years.
Yeshiemebet tells us “through our visits, the people now have enough awareness about trachoma, they know the benefits of the medicine. We notice there are fewer and fewer cases when we go back to the same area. Nowadays, people have enough awareness that they can even explain it well to other community members.”
Although she says her role has helped her grow professionally, the surveys can be “exhausting” especially when covering ground in isolated communities. She recalled a time when she and her team traveled through areas that couldn't be accessed by car or bike.
She shared: “It felt like we would never reach a town or see another person’s face. During that trip, I even doubted why I was even doing the job. But later I forgot all that difficulty and got back to work. The work requires personal interest and a heart to help people as the job is about serving the community, not about personal comfort.”
A huge thank you to this amazing nurse who is working hard alongside other eye health heroes to drive down trachoma cases and turn the tide on this neglected tropical disease!
Yeshiemebet dreams that one day Ethiopia will be free from any trachoma. And so do we. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’re a step closer to making this dream a reality.
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