Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Lynne Dulaney, Director of Communications

Radio helps direct rural, remote Africans to health care


Do you enjoy listening to the radio? News programs, talk shows, music, weather reports, traffic updates – they’re all pleasurable and useful, but I suspect we take often take radio’s availability for granted.

Thanks to our donors and to her radio, Ides Habeenzu can see again!

Thanks to our donors and to her radio, Ides Habeenzu can see again!

Yet for a 32-year old Zambian named Ides Habeenzu, listening to the radio actually helped restore her eyesight!

Ides lives with her husband and three children in a grass-thatched house in Nambae village, located in Kapiri Mposhi district, Zambia. She has Type 1 diabetes, which has caused her a number of health problems. And, until quite recently, she was blind from bilateral cataracts.

“Life was bad,” she says frankly. “I stopped doing anything for myself. I had to wait for people to do things for me.”

Ides’ blindness came on gradually, over about three years. “My family thought that there was black magic involved. I felt sad, hopeless, just crying most of the time. I thought that I would die, and there was no future for me.”

Unable to work, Ides used to sit at home. Radio helped pass the time. And one day, it helped change her life!

She heard a radio public health program conducted by a doctor from University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. Although the doctor was conducting outreach clinics not specific to eye health, Ides’ family brought her to see him. In turn, he referred Ides to the UTH Eye Clinic, refurbished in 2012 by Operation Eyesight’s generous donors.

Ides’ relatives helped her pay for transportation from the village to Lusaka, about a six-hour drive. There, she had cataract surgery and received counselling to better control her diabetes.

And her operation was a success! “I am able to see again. I feel like a lady now,” says Ides happily. She enjoys farming and cooking for herself and her family again, too. “Being cooked for is not good,” she says frankly. “Now the future is bright. Thank you very much. And thank you to the donors who helped me!”

Read how advice from a similar public health radio broadcast also helped a blind elderly couple in another part of rural Zambia.

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