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World Health Day – Celebrating eye health workers around the world

Posted on: Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

This World Heath Day (7th April), we’re celebrating the incredible, dedicated eye health workers around the world, who work tirelessly in their communities to prevent blindness and restore sight.

The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone”. Healthcare should not be a luxury – it’s a human right – but many women, men and children living in poverty have no access to the most basic health services like eye care. Coronavirus has put even more pressure on the limited health services available, particularly in countries like Zimbabwe which were already experiencing economic and blindness crises.

Fewer sight-saving cataract surgeries means more people living needlessly blind. But together, we can build stronger eye health services – including training eye health workers, equipping hospitals and bringing eye health care closer to rural communities.

Meet three of our eye health heroes in Zimbabwe!

Godfrey – Ophthalmic Nurse

Godfrey dressed in blue doctors overalls and hair net.

“People develop cataracts and they can’t see anymore but, fortunately, that is what our job is all about – removal of those cataracts and restoring people’s sight… I enjoy my work because it gives back immediate results. A patient walks in not being able to see, we operate on them and the very next day they can see again. So this changes people’s lives immediately.”

Edith – Ophthalmic Nurse

Edith smiling and wearing her nurses uniform

“Losing sight is almost like losing your life because, without sight, everything goes back to zero. Without sight you have no independence anymore – you have to rely on someone else to help you do things like house chores… My job is very important for the community, because we work with some people in the community with some eye conditions which are reversible, like cataracts. When cataract extraction is done, the patient regains their sight and they will be very happy. I also feel happy to see an old woman rejoice when regaining her sight and it gives me a satisfaction that I am giving back to the community.”

Trynos – Administrator

Trynos smiling and wearing his hospital uniform

“I believe eye sight is the most needed of the five senses for a human being. So if someone develops an eye problem, like a cataract for example, they won’t be able to see and carry out various activities. Cataracts usually affect the elderly and we know they like farming a lot so when they encounter such an eye problem… sitting all day and doing nothing can result in them suffering depression… I am happy about my work because people come here or are referred here for assistance which they always get and leave the place with positive results. What makes me sad is that some of the conditions the people seek help for are irreversible, especially problems like glaucoma.”

Together we can train more eye health workers like Godfrey, Edith and Trynos, in the world’s poorest communities, and ensure that everyone has access to sight-saving services.

Help restore sight and Light up Lives in the world’s poorest places today (open link in new tab).

UK Aid LogoUntil 20th May 2021, the UK government will double donations to our Light up Lives appeal up to £2 million. Public donations will support CBM’s work preventing blindness and transforming lives wherever the need is greatest. Match funding from the UK government will improve access to eye-health services in Zimbabwe.

Header image: CBM-supported Ophthalmic Technician, Louis, carrying out an eye examination on Jabes (12), in a rural village in Malawi. ©CBM/Hayduk