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Sightsavers Reports

Mobile phones help Boubacar to save sight

August 2014
Mobile surgeon Boubacar Fomba checks his mobile phone.

Sightsavers’ mobile surgeon Boubacar Fomba travels by motorbike to some of the most remote regions in Mali.

He has been trained to perform trichiasis (advanced trachoma) surgery in the field. When he arrives in a village he uses a mobile phone to collect information on affected areas.

For Boubacar, it’s a great way to collect information on his patients. “I think that the best thing about this technology is that there’s no data lost: we do it fast and easily,” he explains.

A way to stay in touch

By collecting data on a cellphone, Boubacar can keep track of the people he has treated and send the information in real time back to the National Eye Health Programme. The phone also means he can stay in touch with his wider team while he’s working on the ground.

 

A close-up of mobile surgeon Boubacar Fomba checking his mobile phone.

Gaining the trust of patients in Mali

The only issue he has faced is the lack of network in some areas, but the text messages are sent as soon as he arrives in an area with coverage, so the data can still be collected.

“When we started to work here, only a couple of people per week accepted to be checked,” he explains. “People didn’t trust us. Now we consult dozens of people per day, and people come to us because they were recommended by other patients. That makes us feel proud.”

Mobile surgeon Boubacar Fomba shakes the hand of patient Kany Doumbia following her trichiasis surgery.

“People come to us because they were recommended by other patients. That makes us feel proud.”

Mobile surgeon Boubacar Fomba shakes the hand of patient Kany Doumbia following her trichiasis surgery.

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