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what causes high blindness in Ethiopia?

struggling to read due to blindness

A film “The End is in Sight” profiles the work under way in Africa to eliminate trachoma and river blindness; two neglected diseases that can cause irreversible blindness if left untreated.

Twenty-one million people are affected by trachoma, an eye infection that can leads to blindness according to the survey.

It is a bacterial disease spread from one eye to another through close contact mostly between mothers and their children, as well as by flies.

The Amhara province in the Ethiopian highlands has the highest prevalence in the world.

The disease scars the eyelid , turning it inwards so the eyelashes painfully scratch the cornea, ultimately leading to blindness.

“When I give treatment to people, I want to finish it and see people cured. That is what I feel inside. I become satisfied when I help them become free from the suffering,” says Dasash Hasen, a Health hero.

Wolde is 85-years-old and totally dependent on his daughter Amalda. His wife is completely blind, and Wolde has advanced trachoma. They rely heavily on Amalda’s help; however, she is also infected with trachoma and fears that losing her sight would leave her family destitute.

The only way to avoid going blind is for them to have corrective surgery. The clinic is 20km away, a very long walk for Wolde.

A field health worker tries to convince them to take the step to go for the free surgery.

A 22-year-old nurse Dasash Hasen has had just three weeks of training to prepare for the surgery that could save Wolde’s eyesight.

At first she had a hard time looking at blood during surgery. But now, she is glad she can help restore so many Ethiopians’ sight.

After a 30-minute procedure, Wolde and Amalda have to walk the 20km back home since there is nowhere for them to stay near the clinic. Wolde has both his eyes covered and is led by Amalda, who only has had the operation on one eye.

The Quest for Global Health profiles the extraordinary work of global health workers in their quest to rid the world of the deadly, neglected diseases and conditions that keep millions of people in poverty.