15-year-old Gamangassou had always known there was something wrong with his eyes, but over the years, the pain had become unbearable. It was so sore he could barely see in broad daylight, let alone read or play with his friends. Gamangassou struggled in school and could not read the board.
“My eyes are always watery which makes me sometimes not even go to school.”
Unable to escape his agony, Gamangassou would simply sit on his own all day – his sadness was clear to see.
If trachoma is left untreated, it can develop into trichiasis, and lead to irreversible blindness.
Thankfully Gamangassou was found by local partners who referred him to Sightsavers for treatment. When Gamangassou was told we could rid him of his pain with one surgery, he said “yes” without a second thought.
Help eliminate trachoma in Cameroon – and give more children like Gamangassou a future free from pain.
I’m Ibrahim, Sightsavers’ project officer in Cameroon. I met Gamangassou and saw his incredible journey to a life free from pain.
Gamangassou remained calm as he went in for surgery, although his mother was a little nervous. But, after a smooth procedure and follow-up the next day, his face was cleaned, and his bandages were removed. I’ll always remember his mother’s smile as she saw his clear eyes for the first time.
Fortunately for Gamangassou, just one week after surgery the difference was clear, and he couldn’t stop smiling.
I’ve worked for Sightsavers for six years and witnessed the progress we’ve made towards ending trachoma. I know that, together, we can make this happen. But first we must be able to treat any children still in pain. It’s vital we can keep reaching children in Cameroon – to help treat severe cases like Gamangassou and Aboubakar’s.
It was devastating knowing Gamangassou had been living like this for most of his young life, before receiving treatment. And sadly, there are still many children like him. Due to limited resources, difficult journeys and the threat of conflict, there’s already an estimated 47,200 people who need advanced trachoma or trichiasis surgery in Cameroon – with children like Gamangassou among them. And with COVID-19 further delaying our work, this number is only going to rise.
Your gift will help us prepare to hit the ground running as soon as our programmes restart, by training more volunteers to deliver trachoma screenings and ensuring our teams have everything they need to take children to hospital for surgery. We can also continue our educational programmes about good hygiene, which is vital in stopping the spread of trachoma.
Your kind support today could help more children who are waiting to be free from the pain of trachoma.
Like Gamangassou, Aboubakar also had trachoma. His eyes started hurting when he was six years old, and this quickly developed into trichiasis. Take a look at our interactive map to find out how we were able to help him.Explore the map