Sophia Mohamed, 20, coddled the beautiful baby girl she had named Ajira Sabihi. She wrapped Ajira tightly to her side, smiled down at her and nursed her tenderly whenever she fussed. But it pained Sophia to look into her baby’s face.
For two years, Sophia has suffered from the intense pain and sensitivity to light characteristic of trachomatous trichiasis or TT— the result of severe or multiple bouts of the neglected tropical disease trachoma. TT occurs when one’s eyelashes turn inward and scrape the surface of the eye with every blink. Without surgery, Sophia would soon be permanently blind.
The SAFE Program
Through the SAFE Program, funded by a grant from the U.K.’s Department for International Development through Sightsavers-UK, IMA World Health and a team of eye surgeons hosted an eye screening in the rural village of Kihamba in Tanzania’s Mtwara region, where Sophia lives and where TT affects a disproportionately high number of people.