When Aisatou graduated from university a few years ago, she knew she wanted to improve healthcare for her friends and neighbors.
Aisatou’s motivations came in part from her family’s experience: several years ago she saw her grandfather suffering from cataract blindness before he passed away. “When I became a nurse,” she said, “I decided to specialize in ophthalmology. I knew that when someone has cataracts [they] must be treated.”
In the past, blurred vision from cataracts was considered “just part of old age” in The Gambia. Aisatou remembers a time when people with cataracts would first visit traditional spiritual healers instead of going to the health center or hospital; these spiritual healers were not able to help with their vision loss. Gradually, patients have become more comfortable visiting health centers to receive eye exams, she says.
When we met Aisatou at a training session, she was eager to learn how HelpMeSee’s tools could be used to improve the health of patients in her clinic. Aisatou sees HelpMeSee’s surgical kit and use of community health workers as a critical improvement in her clinic.
Despite being busy with her family and nursing work, Aisatou told us she is studying to become a cataract surgeon someday, using the training and tools HelpMeSee provided her to make a greater impact on her neighbors’ lives.