Stories of Impact


Lucia is a girl aged 7 years. She is the only child of her mother, who died three days after her birth. Lucia lives with her grandmother in a village called Busega in Simiyu Region.

According to Lucia’s grandmother, Lucia was born with normal eyes. When she was 3 years old, she started a new habit of covering her forehead by using her hand/fingers. Sometimes she would press hard on the sides of her face. Up to now Lucia has finger markers on her face because of always pressing on the same spot. In 2020 Lucia’s grandmother took her to one of the health centres in the village and she was referred to Bugando Medical Centre. The family couldn’t manage to take Lucia to Bugando due to financial constraints.

Although they couldn’t make it to the hospital, they had some traditional medications that they were using on Lucia’s eyes with the hope that the whitish colour on both her eyes would disappear with time. Three years later, her grandmother realised that Lucia was becoming more and more quiet, she was not playing with her fellow peers, and not enjoying the outside activities just like other kids of her age. At school she was not performing very well, and her teachers were complaining that she was very slow.

One day a key informant visited her grandmother and told that her that he had noticed something wrong with Lucia’s eyes and would like to register her in her registry and told them about the screening camp that would happen the next week. The KI told them they would receive services and they wouldn’t pay. On the date of screening, Lucia’s grandmother couldn’t make to the screening camp, she was so sad. She called the KI who registered Lucia and this KI told her that all kids with the same problem as Lucia have been referred to Simiyu Regional Referral Hospital for further management by the team from Bugando Medical Centre. As a family they could still take Lucia to Simiyu Referral Regional Hospital, and she gave them specific dates.

The parents later decided to take her to the government hospital – Simiyu Referral Hospital. This time Lucia was seen by a paediatric ophthalmologist. She was diagnosed with developmental cataract on both eyes. She was seen by a female doctor who promised that Lucia would be put on the surgical list for operation. She was successfully operated through the USAID support in May 2023.

Lucia has gained back her sight. She is so happy. Lucia and her grandmother and the entire family are very grateful to the program for supporting Lucia to receive surgery.

The vision problem affected the patient’s life in that she could not see properly and was mostly disturbed when getting out to the light, at school her fellow kids didn’t understand her as she was not going out to play with them.

Lucia was not doing well at school. She is in Grade One but doesn’t know how to read and write at the moment. Sometimes she was refusing to go to school as her peers laughed at her.

Her grandmother is now free; she doesn’t need to stay home to take care of Lucia. She will be going to school every d ay as there are no excuses anymore. She is not afraid of light and the friends will also be happy as she will join them and have fun together.
She is happy and is doing well in class.