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Tulsi Chanrai Foundation Eye Hospital since 1998 have been addressing the issue of avoidable blindness in Nigeria where medical care is challenged. TCF has a track record of providing high quality Eye Care to people irrespective of their socio-economic conditions. They have so far performed more than 125,000 free eye surgeries!
Project Anya was a project I (Shiv) started early in 2021, to spread awareness about the work being done in the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation Eye Hospital in Abuja Nigeria but also to give patients a chance to share their stories. Anya, the project name, means eyes in Yoruba and look in Hausa, which are the two of the most widely spoken tribal languages in Nigeria. I thought it was a fitting name for this project. Through this article, I will share the stories of the patients and the impact that the surgeries have had on their lives and livelihoods, and the importance of regaining vision to those who lived in darkness.
Regina was one of the patients that shared her story with me. Regina before coming to the hospital could only see hand movements and was not able to read texts. Regina had also previously suffered from a cataract in her left eye, which she got operated on at the hospital a few years earlier which was successful. Her diagnosis this time was a cataract in her right eye which stopped her from working. Regina, is a Fulani woman, meaning that her job entails selling cow milk and because of her lack of vision she was not able to do this and had to rely on help from her children. The outcome of the operation was successful and the doctors were able to restore her eyesight from just hand movements to a vision of 6/9. “I am so happy, I can now do anything I want to do”. Regina was overwhelmed by the success of
the surgery and she believes that her improved vision will allow her to return to work and become less dependent on her family while making a valuable contribution to the family’s revenue stream.
Muhammad, had an outlook on life that emphasised to me the importance of how important vision is. “Anything you want to do in life with the loss of vision there is no life, vision is life.” Muhammad kept saying this phrase, and how vision to him was everything and without it he had felt lost, and that a part of him was missing. Muhammad had been dealing with an
age-related cataract in his left eye for 2 years before coming to get it treated. He was a bit scared of the surgery but he knows that after he will be able to regain his life again.
Muhammad a few hours after the surgery was able to see much better, and is now able to go back to work as a farmer and support his family. Muhammad was beyond grateful and said this gave him the chance to live a much better quality of life. He prayed for the success of the hospital. “God bless you, and may God bless the hospital.”
Fatima was a patient who did not think her life could get better and was distraught because of her eye. “I was scared, not happy and I was crying everyday because I could not see”.
Fatima for a year experienced an extreme loss in vision from a blurry vision at the start too only being able to see plain light. Fatima was forced not to work, and because of this her business took a big hit as her young children had to help. Fatima after the cataract on her right eye regained 6/6 vision, which is perfect vision. When I asked her how she was feeling she began to pray and thank god for showing her the hospital and for giving her her vision back.
Names have been changed for patient confidentiality.
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