Patient stories: treating Mandido, Ethiopia, for trachoma

Mandido, 50, had trachoma for three years, which had a profound effect on her ability to work and support her family. Her husband is unable to work, making her sight crucial for their future

Mandido had late-stage trachoma, trachomatous trichiasis. For more than three years, she was living in pain, suffering from an itching, burning sensation in her eyes.

She described her situation: "Even at night, I can’t see anything. Having this eye problem is very difficult for me. I have difficulties in public gatherings – speaking to neighbours, attending funerals, going to the market. I don’t have much income, I sell bread at the market [so] my sight is very important; it helps me to support my family."

Mandido’s operation was conducted by Abiyot, an Orbis-trained Integrated Eye Care Worker. She was previously screened and referred to a nearby hospital for trachoma surgery. When she arrived, with little understanding of what the surgery would entail, she became too scared and was unable to go through with it.

However, when Abiyot met her in her village and identified her condition, he was able to gently explain what would happen, and counselled her on the surgery; encouraging her to seek treatment. His approach worked, and she found the courage to come to the health centre he worked at for surgery.

Mandido supports her chronically ill husband, their seven children and her grandchildren

Trachoma has had a profound impact on Mandido’s life. The condition means that even basic activities, such as cooking and cleaning, are very difficult. Her seven children (aged 13-35) are around to help her and guide her, but she continues to cook and care for the ones that still live with her. She also cares for her husband, who suffers from chronic hypertension – meaning he is unable to work.

“I’m very happy to have had the surgery,” Mandido tells us. "The itching is relieved and the pain is decreasing. I feel better now."

Post-surgery, Mandido rested for a few days, and hopes that life will be easier both at work and when caring for her husband. Mandido says she would now like to meet others suffering from trachoma and tell them to visit the health centre and seek help.

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