Meet Abraham: the Father Fighting for his Family’s Sight

Life in Abraham’s village is challenging. The nearest clean water is an hour’s walk away, there is no electricity, and many children start working before their teens. As a father of three young children, Abraham dreams of a better future for them and hopes that education will provide a way out of poverty.

However, a blinding eye condition threatens their chances - trachoma..

The family live in a small village near Durame town, in Kembata Tembaro, Ethiopia. Abraham is a dedicated farmer and with his wife Seble, they raise their three children—Wondimu (5), Zenash (4), and Rabiet (2). Abraham cultivates potatoes, maize, avocado, and enset (false banana). The food they grow barely meets the family’s needs, leaving no surplus for income.

Wondimu (5) received antibiotics from Orbis to treat his trachoma infection.

Trachoma, a highly contagious bacterial infection, thrives in poor sanitation, lack of clean water, and overcrowded conditions. A typical individual infection causes:

  • Itching and irritation
  • Eye discharge
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness

When an Orbis-trained health worker visits their village, Abraham’s entire family is diagnosed with active trachoma infections. The infections are particularly disruptive for the children’s education. “The children struggle to read because the brightness of the paper hurts their eyes. I’m worried they’ll fall behind in school,” says Abraham.

Aster, Orbis trained Integrated Health Worker, conducting eye screenings on Abraham's family.

He first noticed vision problems when Wondimu had trouble identifying objects: “I asked him to bring a glass, but he couldn’t see it clearly. I’m concerned about the damage trachoma might do to their sight.”

Whilst the infections today are a source of pain, the whole family is at risk of irreversible blindness if trachoma infections persist. Seble fears for her children’s future: “I’ve seen older community members go blind. I don’t want my children to suffer the same fate.”

Repeated trachoma infections can lead to trachoma trichiasis, where the eyelid turns inward, causing lashes to scrape the eyeball, leading to pain, corneal scarring, and eventual blindness without treatment.

Fortunately, Aster, an Orbis-trained Integrated Health Worker, visits the village to conduct eye screenings. She diagnoses the family’s active trachoma infections and provides them with tetracycline eye ointment, free of charge. This treatment should clear the infections in six weeks, after which Aster will return to check their progress.

Rabiet (2), holding her eye ointment from Orbis to treat her trachoma infection.

Abraham expresses his relief: “I’m incredibly happy to have antibiotics to treat the infections, especially because they were delivered to our home. Traveling to a clinic is difficult and costly, so this support is fantastic.”

Thanks to the intervention of dedicated health workers like Aster, families like Abraham’s have hope for a future free from the threat of blindness.

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