“I am excited to resume my school and be like my friends and I want to be doctor like you and help needy people.“
Workenesh Cheru is an 11-year-old girl from Hosanna, a town located in southern Ethiopia, almost 150 miles away from the capital, Addis Ababa. When she arrived at the pediatric eye clinic at Menelik II Hospital in Addis, Workenesh had progressive reduction and clouding of her vision due to bilateral cataracts. She first experienced the clouding three years ago, and then she lost vision completely one year ago. Workenesh lives with her uncle, who has a daily income of less than $1 per day, and she dropped out of school when she symptoms began.
When she arrived at the hospital, she had dense, white cataracts in both eyes, with the right eye only perceiving light and the left eye only able to see a little over a foot. Dr. Sadik Taju Sherief performed the operation removing both cataracts and implanting intraocular lenses in both eyes with great results. Her vision on the first postoperative day was 6/18 in the right eye and 6/9 in the left eye.
When she came to the hospital, Workenesh was shy and didn’t talk to strangers, but the day her patches were removed, she couldn’t hide her happiness and smile. When she was discharged, four days later after inpatient treatment, the discharging resident asked her how she felt and what her plans were. She replied, “I am excited to resume my school and be like my friends and I want to be doctor like you and help needy people.”
Support from the USAID Child Blindness Program made this care possible, covering Workenesh’s transportation, accommodations and treatment costs.