Recently, Jo Howard who is the head of global fundraising at Sightsavers traveled to the African nation of Zambia in order to assess how the donations given by Sightsavers’ supporters were helping to improve the lives of children. Ms. Howard began her time in Zambia with a long ride to the Western Province and its main city of Mongu.
In Mongu, Ms. Howard observed doctors at the Lewanika Hospital conduct several eye examinations. While at the hospital, arrangements were made for Ms. Howard to travel into an area of rural Zambia where Sightsavers had received a report that there were children suffering from trachoma.
Trachoma is a very serious eye infection. It is a very painful condition. If it is left untreated, the condition can often lead to complete blindness.
Sightsavers is committed to helping the children of Zambia. However, it is often very difficult to reach people who live in these out of the way areas. Ms. Howard and the team had to travel to an area that had no roads to speak of. Much of the way was muddy and sandy causing the SUV they were traveling in to become stuck on several occasions.
When the team arrived at the village, the people were quite happy to see the team from Sightsavers. One of the village elders was amused about Jo Howard’s name. He couldn’t understand why her parents would give her a name that sounded like a man’s name.
The team was taken to visit three children in the same family who were believed to be suffering from trachoma. Their mother was out working in the fields, but the team was still able to exam the children and confirm the trachoma diagnosis. Lster, the mother came back, and it was discovered that she was suffering from trachoma as well.
All four members of the family were prescribed the antibiotics that are necessary to cure the condition. The team departed with the assurance that they would return to check on the family and make sure that the antibiotics had effectively cleared the trachoma from everyone’s eyes.
Ms. Howard was struck by the fact that something so simple as providing common medications could make such a big difference in people’s lives. She emphasized that Sightsavers is committed to helping people even in hard to reach places.