“I’ve been working as an ophthalmic nurse now for about 10 years,” he tells us. “I’d had a passion for saving people’s lives, then I developed an interest in eye health because I had family members who had eye problems. But I couldn’t figure out what the problem really was, so I had to venture into eye health.”
We follow Givemore across Mbire, a rural district in northern Zimbabwe, where he carries out eye health screenings to check for trachoma in local communities. The area has little infrastructure: the dirt roads are bumpy, and there’s a shortage of medicine and supplies in the few small health clinics, making it difficult for locals to get the healthcare they need.
Each day Givemore visits villages dotted around the district. Most don’t have access to clean water, and this lack of sanitation means the infection spreads more easily between people.
Although villagers welcome our arrival, children often shy away, crying in anticipation of having their eyes examined. Parents have to encourage their children to let Givemore examine them, but immediately afterwards the children relax. Most wander around his feet, intrigued to see what he’s going to do next.
We joke that he’s an expert in making children cry, to which he responds with a hearty laugh. He knows it’s part of the job. “For a child with trachoma, if the condition goes untreated, you know that at some point in time they may end up blind,” he explains. “So when someone goes blind, it’s a burden to the family, to the community, to the nation.
“It makes me very happy to see a child with trachoma being treated because I know the impact it will have on the child’s life, wellbeing and welfare. I will be certain that this child is likely to have a better future.”
At a quick lunchtime stop at a local health clinic in Mbire, we ask Givemore to tell us about his role and the impact the disease can have on the lives of not only children, but adults too. Watch the video below to hear what he has to say.