David has overseen our work in Ghana for the past four years. In July 2018 he was able to witness a historic milestone when the country became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate trachoma – the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness. This was three years after the country was declared free of Guinea worm disease by the World Health Organization.
“I count myself very lucky for being part of the success stories of both Guinea worm eradication and trachoma elimination in Ghana,” he explains. “When I compare the incapacitation and debilitation that affected people at the beginning to the current improvement in their health and quality of life, my heart overflows with joy. All the energy, resources and time that were committed to fighting these disease become very worthwhile.
“A few days before trachoma elimination was announced, I was carrying out some interviews in one of the formerly endemic communities. A woman hurried to me, beaming with smiles. ‘Don’t you remember me?’ she asked. I looked at her again and recognised her: it was Zeinab Abukari, one of the patients that was operated on in 2017 in the Yendi district. How beautiful and healthy she had become; no wonder I did not recognise her at first.