A new permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of medicine has launched at the Science Museum in London, featuring Sightsavers’ work to treat nomadic populations for blinding trachoma.
Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries is the world’s largest medical gallery and will be on display for at least 30 years. Among the many exhibits, visitors can experience the day-to-day work of Sightsavers eye surgeon Samson Lokele, who travels to remote regions to operate on inaccessible communities in Kenya.
Samson has been an eye surgeon for more than 10 years and has treated thousands of people for trachoma since he was trained by Sightsavers and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
His work in these hard-to-reach communities plays a key role in global efforts to eliminate the ancient disease. Nomadic communities often don’t have easy access to medical care, and can therefore suffer the most with painful diseases such as trachoma. Yet thanks to surgeons like Samson, a straightforward operation taking just 20 minutes can stop the pain and restore sight for sufferers.
Samson doesn’t need high-tech surroundings: as long as the equipment is good and sterile, ‘pop up’ operations can take place anywhere in the Kenyan desert – in well-lit churches, schools or even outside.
He said: “I am extremely proud of the work I do with Sightsavers and excited to see it recognised in this well-known international space. Trachoma is the disease of the poor and most neglected populations. Yet it is preventable, avoidable and treatable.
“This is an opportunity to show the public how we carry out our life-changing work in some of the most remote places, and give visitors a chance to see what it takes to tackle these diseases.”
The exhibition features life-size images of Samson and replicas of the equipment he uses for trachoma operations alongside more than 3,000 other medical artefacts, plus interactive games and immersive experiences.
The gallery opens to the public on 16 November 2019 at the Science Museum in London. Entry is free, and the exhibition is open daily 10am-6pm. For more details, visit the exhibition website.