Meet Ioane, a 6-year-old boy in excruciating pain. He fell over near his family home in Kiribati while he was playing with his friends. They were jostling by a rubbish heap when he fell over, piercing his eye on a rusty piece of abandoned wire.
It was only by coincidence that our eye team met him. It was almost five days later as they arrived for an outreach at the main hospital in Tarawa. By then, Ioane's family were desperate for an eye doctor to check his injury.
Tragically, an infection had spread through his eye and the delay meant we couldn't save his sight. But the quick actions of Dr Rabebe Tekeraoi, an i-Kiribati doctor-in-training, stopped the infection spreading to his brain. We saved his life.
It never should have come to this. No child should have to suffer as Ioane did. But the shocking truth is there are no eye doctors working in Kiribati who could help. If he’d been seen by an eye doctor immediately, he might still have vision in his eye today.
This little boy deserved better. No child should go blind because of a lack of available care.
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