For weeks leading up to the screening day, a community case finder—a local volunteer whom IMA trained to recognize TT—went door-to-door throughout Kihamba and its outskirts. He talked to people and looked in their eyes, urging those with symptoms to come to the screening. Fadhili, his eyes stinging, itching and constantly tearing, was among the several dozen people who came, some using canes or led by family members, hoping for answers and treatments for the various causes of pain, redness and loss of vision they experienced.
On the day of the screening, about a dozen people from two villages were diagnosed with TT—and thanks to a grant from the U.K.’s Department for International Development, known as the SAFE Program, IMA transported them to the health center that day to undergo surgery to save their vision.
But Fadhili was not diagnosed with TT. His symptoms were from severe allergic conjunctivitis—an easily treatable allergic reaction. Before today, Fadhili would have gone home disappointed and untreated, since funding from the SAFE Program funds is reserved exclusively for TT patients. Fortunately, IMA was able to give him the medicated eye drops he needed thanks to a new grant from Week of Compassion.