Abrehet is an ambitious woman with a love for helping people. These two traits have resulted in her pursuing a profession in the health services – Abrehet works as a maternity nurse in a general hospital.
In order to correctly dispense medicine, Abrehet relies heavily on her sight. Without it, she cannot read the labelling on the bottles and cannot precisely give the women she attends to what they need.
Therefore it was a huge problem when, two years ago, Abrehet’s vision started to fail. “In the last six months in particular, it’s been almost impossible for me to do my work. I cannot read patient records and I cannot read medicine labels. I also can’t see the patients’ veins – so it is difficult for me to give intravenous injections.”
“At home, I really struggle to do any household chores. My life is not going well since my vision started to fade,” she added.
A mother of four, Abrehet also used to help her children with their school-work. “Now, this has stopped,” she said. “I can’t see what is written down, so how can I help my children?” she asked.
After visiting the optometry department at the Asmara School of Health Sciences, Abrehet was examined by a student in the department and diagnosed with refractive error. She was given a pair of glasses from the optical workshop lab that had already been processed by the students as part of their cut and fit training.
“I am so happy and so excited,” said Abrehet. “Now, I will be able to work again – to do the job that I love! I will be able to dispense medicine and read the patient records! I’ll be able to do all the things that a nurse is required to do! Thank you so much!”
Abrehet was so impressed with the service and the treatment she received that she is now going to encourage all her colleagues to visit the optometry department to get their eyes tested. “For us, our vision is vital for our jobs and for our patients. Regular check-ups are therefore necessary. I will make sure to tell my co-workers to come here to get those tests done,” she said.
“Thank you so much for the help! You have changed my life,” said Abrehet.
The Developing Optometry Services program in Eritrea is a partnership between the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Asmara College of Health Sciences and the Eritrean Ministry of Health with funding support from Optometry Giving Sight.
To date 38 students have graduated as Optometry Technicians and are being deployed in Vision Centres across the country to provide refractive error services to the Eritrean population. Each year around 20 new students enrol in the program.