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International Family Day
May 15 is International Family Day, read about the ways in which Athumani worried for his family due to painful Trachoma in both eyes and the ways in which his families lives have now improved:
Athumani Chereheni from Madudu in Tanzania is 63 years old and married with two children and four grandchildren. Athumani had suffered for years with repeated trachoma infections in both eyes. Over the years, his eyelashes started to turn inwards and he was in constant pain. His sight was deteriorating badly as cornea was being damaged. He told us: “I have a pain in my eyes which goes to the back of my head, and my eyes itch all the time. I can’t see properly and my eyes often water.”
Athumani had to stop working because of his eye problems: “Initially I was working at a teaching centre as a storekeeper, then I was cultivating seeds and working as a watchman. These jobs became impossible as my eye sight became worse and the pain grew. Now I run a small farm but even this has become too much as I can see very little.”
He increasingly had to rely on his family to cultivate his crops and had been feeling very concerned for the family’s future.
Luckily Athumani had heard about an eye care service coming to his local health centre in Magubike. “A team of doctors came to my village and when they saw my eyes they encouraged me to come. A doctor came to collect me and bring me to the eye camp.”
The eye camp meant Athumani got the treatment he needed. After the operation to turn his eyelashes back away from his eyes, we met Athumani at his home. He still had all the stitches in his eyelids, but the wounds were clean and healing well. He was in very good spirits and was pleased to be home.
“I feel really happy,” he said. “It’s still a bit painful, but I’ve got medicine to put in my eyes and I’m looking forward to having the stitches removed. My family is very happy and they thank the doctors and everyone who helped me. I’d advise the treatment to anyone. Now I’ll be able to get back to doing my work, and supporting my family.”