These images tell the story of Chief Abdul-Rahman Neindow in the village of Zuozugu, near to Tamale in Ghana.
When Trachoma goes untreated, it becomes Trichiasis, where the eyelids turn in upon themselves so that the lashes are constantly scratching the eye. At this stage, only surgery, using TT kits, can save a person’s sight.
Chief Abdul-Rahman (who describes his age as ‘plenty’) had trichiasis in both eyes. “I had a painful burning and prickling in both my eyes, and lots of tears, as if I had something in my eye all the time. It prevented me from carrying out my work.”
As village chief, Abdul-Rahman oversees the village’s farming; he acts as a judge if there are any disputes, such as land ownership; and any visitor to the village, including from the government, must first go to see the chief.
Issifu Ali was able to operate on one of Chief Abdul-Rahman’s eyes straight away, and 8 days later returned to operate on the second eye (photos relate to second visit). Each operation took about 20 minutes, in the chief’s own home, as he lay back on an old wooden bench on the porch of his hut.
A year later, Chief Abdul-Rahman reported how happy he is to be able to work again, “I was able to get back to yam farming last season, and when the rains stopped, I was also able to cut grass to be used for thatching of my rooms.” He then joked: “I can now sit outside in the afternoon to listen to my subjects making their complaints.”