The work he saw was part of Sightsavers’ Coordinated Approach to Community Health (CATCH) project, funded by the UK government (UK aid). Having had an eye injury and operation himself, Fynn understands how valuable sight is. Here is his story.
When I had my eye surgery in Wales, my doctor was wearing a Kenyan belt. I asked where he got it: he told me it was from Samburu in Kenya, where he had worked on some eye health projects. It was therefore very special for me to go to Samburu. I saw some of the awful problems that the people there face and what Sightsavers is doing, with the support of the UK government, to stop the spread of trachoma and help restore the sight of people with cataracts.
On the day of the visit, my mum and I set off early for a very long drive north. We met Moses, Sightsavers’ Project Director for CATCH, in Nairobi in a petrol station while it was still dark. We passed through many small towns and villages, and several counties, on the way to Samburu. The terrain changed as we travelled further north: it became more arid, and there was more land between settlements.
Arriving at the first clinic, we were met by the Sightsavers team to be given a tour of the health centre. We heard what has been done with funding received from around the world, including UK aid – I was particularly impressed by the maternity ward, where I got to meet two newborn babies.
Outside the eye clinic were queues of people sitting waiting to be seen. We met an elderly woman waiting for surgery who agreed to let us observe: she didn’t look nervous, but she was quiet. She was covered in beaded necklaces and wore a bright purple blanket, known as a shuka, which she covered with a blue hospital gown. Her eyes looked pale, and we were told she had trachoma, an eye disease that can lead to blindness. She said it made her eyes itchy and sore.
Her surgery was very quick, lasting about 10 minutes. I hope the surgery was successful – they said it was – and that she will be prepared to come back for cataract surgery in a couple of months so she can see clearly again.