Zada lies in the highlands of Dita Worenda in Ethiopia and is home to the Zada Health Center. Dita Woreda has one of the highest rates of Trachoma in the SNNPR region of Ethiopia. Here in Zada, Orbis trained Integrated Eye Care Workers (IECW) conduct trachoma treatment and prevention. IECWs are nurses who are trained to provide their community with basic health care services. Through Orbis support they receive additional training specific to eye health. These health care workers are critical to reaching remote areas of Ethiopia, where access to eye care is limited. Tsehay is one of those IECWs.
“I feel proud to have this additional knowledge in something that is really important to me,” said Tsehay.
One of her favorite stories from her time as an IECW is about a 15-year-old weaver that she met in a neighboring town after a short trip for a meeting. He thought his situation was hopeless. “My problem is a natural problem and you cannot help me,” the boy had told her. After examining him she urged the boy to come to Zada to seek treatment because she would be able to help him with his problem. He was suffering from trichasis as a result of repeated infection from trachoma and was in a lot of pain. The pain made it difficult for him to weave or do any of his normal activities. After convincing him to visit her in Zada, Tsehay performed trichasis surgery on the boy to alleviate the pain and ensure that his eyelashes were no longer rubbing his eye.
To show her his gratitude the boy later returned with clothing he had woven to give as a gift to Tsehay. “It makes me feel good inside. I’m proud because I helped him,” she said.
“I’m grateful, just for having this chance. I am already a health worker and I was able to receive additional knowledge, which I would have never had the chance to get if I didn’t come across this program. What I can say is simply thank you, Orbis. People here appreciate me and admire me, but it’s because of the training I got from Orbis. I appreciate this chance and the message I’d like to pass is thank you.”