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Sightsavers from the field

January updates: highlights from around the world

A baby born with cataracts is smiling again following surgery in Zambia, plus stories from India, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

January 2020
Some homes in Kalizya Village in Eastern Zambia.

Zambia

Baby can see his family again after cataract surgery

Eleven-month-old Emmanuel’s mother, Mwezi, and grandmother, Rosaria, noticed he had problems with his eyes when he was a few months old. His eye was moving involuntarily from side to side, up and down and round in circles. He was also unable to focus on objects or recognise the faces of the people holding him.

Mwezi and Rosaria were very worried about Emmanuel’s future, but thanks to Sightsavers and Standard Chartered’s Seeing is Believing project, he was able to have an eye screening, where he was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes.

The day after his surgery, Emmanuel was able to see for the first time since birth. “He can see my face, and he can see his mother’s face as well,” said Rosaria. During his post-operative check-up she could tell his ability to see and focus on objects had improved. She was very happy with this improvement. His mother said she was very grateful to Sightsavers and Seeing is Believing for making it possible for her son to see. More from Zambia

A little boy smiles after having an eye exam.
Emmanuel smiles after his post-operative check up.

Nigeria

“I don’t want others to suffer what I suffered”

Seventy-year-old Mohammed, from Kogi State, Nigeria, farms crops, which he uses to feed about 15 members of his family including his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins. He is also a community volunteer, who has been distributing medication for river blindness for the last 15 years.

Mohammed became a volunteer after he unfortunately lost sight in his right eye.

“I visited the eye clinic but the doctor told me nothing could be done to make me see in my right eye again,” he said.

“However, it was because of these visits to the doctor that I learned about Mectizan® and how it is used to treat river blindness.

“It was too late for my right eye but I decided to become a distributor in my community so I can help prevent avoidable blindness in other people.”

Being blind in one eye means sometimes Mohammed needs assistance carrying out his activities. For example his younger brother helps him in completing the register when he goes around the community to distribute the drug.

Despite his condition he is very happy that he can now help others in the community with avoidable blindness. More from Nigeria

A portrait of a man in traditional clothing.

Bangladesh

Sightsavers Bangladesh country director appears on TV talk show

Sightsavers Bangladesh appeared on a TV talk show to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The talk show aired live on 3 December on DBC News. Amrita Rejina Rozario, Bangladesh country director, appeared on the show with Social Welfare Minister of Bangladesh Nuruzzaman Ahmed, who committed to uphold the rights of people with disabilities in the country. Watch the show here (video in Bengali). More from Bangladesh

A still from a talk show.

India

Rajasthan eye care project helps restore people’s sight

Father of five Kishan, from Rajasthan, had been suffering from cataracts for a long time. However, he continued to work at a pyaoo, a local water system which serves drinking water to different locations around the community. His job involves him walking more than 3km daily. Unfortunately, one day his poor eyesight caused him to fall in a pit and injure himself.

A community health worker visited Kishan and told him about a local community camp for eye health and invited him for a screening, where he was told he would need surgery, but Kishan said due to his low income he was unable to pay for the surgery he needed. Thanks to Sightsavers and Bhoruka Charitable Trust, he was able to receive the operation, and he received spectacles.

Kishan was very happy with the service he received at the eye care camp and is delighted he can see again. More from India

A community volunteer visits a man at his home.
A community worker visits Kishan after receiving treatment.

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