As far as the eye can see - We did it !

Bringing sight to rural Nigeria
April 12, 2022
Sr Baridi Diidi
We did it

The project: eye care and assistance for low-income rural populations

Once the donations were received, people with eye problems were identified through our fixed eye clinic and mobile clinic van.

In rural areas, people believe that blindness is a curse or that it is normal at a certain age, so they never really seek medical attention for eye problems. So we travel long distances to get to our patients, across a road that is particularly dangerous because of the presence of the Islamic State group.

The clinic's staff go out to meet the rural population and take the opportunity to vaccinate and inform them through a nutrition programme for malnourished children.

We are fortunate to have a doctor available to volunteer with us in the mobile clinic. The villagers, touched by the fact that a health service is coming to them, have always found a good location before we arrive.

The diagnosis is always made by the doctor, who identifies the patients to be operated on. Further laboratory tests are carried out to ensure this, and the health service informs the patients about the do's and don'ts before and after the operation. A consent form is signed by the person being operated on.

Once the operation has been performed, patients return for a check-up after one or two weeks. Those with other conditions that do not require surgery are treated in the outpatient department.

Your donations have a great impact in helping us achieve our mission here. We are always happy to hear "Naganki Sister" which means "I can see you, sister".

The beneficiaries

We noticed that Mr. Gambo was completely blind from our first visit to his home.

His children only came to his room to drop off food, his living area was extremely dirty and he did not move around because he was unable to move.

We advised his son to take him to the clinic where he was diagnosed with a cataract which was easily operated. So the operation was performed.

On our first visit after the operation, we saw how much healthier Baba was. He had managed to tidy up his environment and everything was clean.

His appearance has also changed a lot, now that he can see he looks much younger and we can hardly believe that he is the same old man as before the operation.

Baba was so happy to thank us, and to thank God.

A one-year-old blind child named Godia was brought to our clinic by her mother.

The child had not been able to have the first day of surgery due to the lack of specialised anaesthetic assistance for children, which we were unable to obtain because of the rural area.  

The mother, grandmother and father, pleaded for her to be operated on. After explaining to them, the doctor promised to do what was necessary to operate on her the next time, which he did. On the second day of the operation at the hospital, we got the anaesthetic and the operation was successful. When they came back 2 weeks later for the check-up, Godia was running around. The whole family was very grateful.

Impact on the beneficiaries

The project had a very positive impact. Rural people used to think that blindness was a part of old age and was irreversible. Now, thanks to the health education we provide, they know that there is a solution for eye problems. Until now the majority stayed at home and applied all sorts of herbs and other dangerous things to their eyes, causing more harm than good.

Our fixed and mobile clinics reduce the distance to government health facilities, which is normally very long and dangerous: our clinic is closer to people in rural areas. It raises awareness of the care that can be provided to prevent these problems.

The price of the care is affordable and we always find a solution to finance it even when people cannot afford it. We offer our services to all, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Since the beginning of the project, 852 patients have benefited from an ophthalmological consultation, 30 patients were registered for a cataract or a pterygium.

So far, 15 cataracts and 5 pterygia have been operated on, the others have not come forward.

10 cases of corneal opacity and retinal detachment have been referred, the rest of the cases treated were trachoma and vernal conjunctivitis, these cases being due to the dryness and dust of their environment.

We hope that this project, which you have funded, will give the clinic great visibility. We are counting on the patients who have already benefited from treatment to talk about it and thus attract other people suffering from eye diseases.

We will always be grateful for your support, thanks to which many people have been able to see and testify today,

and we will never stop praying for you.