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Kunse Helps His Mother Through Surgery In Ethiopia

Kunse is 13 years old. He lives in the rural village of Nalasegen in Konso with his mother Halge and 4 younger siblings.

His mother, Halge, suffered with the dreadful pain of trachoma. Both eyes were affected and her eyelids had started to turn inwards.This meant that every time she blinked her eyelashes would scratch the cornea and cause agonising pain. She was unable to cook for her children as the heat aggravated her condition and she was finding it more and more difficult to work on the farm.

After his father passed away two years ago, Kunse was forced to drop out of school to help his mother and the rest of his family. Kunse took on the responsibility of cooking duties, looking after his siblings and sustaining the farm. In November 2014,

In November 2014, Kunse accompanied his mother on the 7km walk to the nearest heath centre where she had an appointment with Zinabu Kidane-Marian, an Orbis-trained eye care worker. Kunse was scared and worried for his mother and wanted to stay with her throughout the surgery. Kunse was distraught at seeing his mother being treated. He told Zinabu that he was frightened of losing his mother following the recent death of his father. Zinabu reassured Kunse that the surgery would help his mother.

Her surgery took less than 20 minutes. She was given a local anaesthetic and was also given an antiseptic cream to take home and apply to her eyes until they were fully healed. She required bandages covering both eyes. Luckily, Kunse was on hand to help his mother. He helped her to put her sandals and cardigan on and then took her hand to lead her out of the operating room.

The impact of trachoma on someone’s life is enormous. However, many more are affected indirectly, including children deprived of education and their childhood because of the care required to help their parents at home. Now that his mother has been treated, Kunse is looking forward to returning to school and Halge is looking forward to getting back to her farm and being able to care for her children again.

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