Sierra Leone over years has recorded one of the highest blind rates in the West African sub region because of the dearth of eye specialists in that sector, which is said to be about 0.7 per cent of the population of Sierra Leone (approximately 43,800 people), while blindness of people over 50 years of age is estimated at 5.9 per cent, according to the most recent available national data.
In changing this narrative, Jalikatu Mustapha, a 32 year old Ophthalmologist at Connaught Hospital (eye specialist) has break that cycle to become one of the country’s youngest, proficient and efficient eye doctors that have helped many to regain their eye sights otherwise they would have been permanently blind for life.
Jalikatu who works with Sightsavers Sierra Leone has recently successfully performed eye operations on Sierra Leoneans of various stations in life including Al-Sankoh Conteh former Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs under the erstwhile Ernest Bai Koroma led Government,
Al-Sankoh Conteh developed an eye sight problem which nearly left him blind. He was admitted at the Connaught Hospital on the 13th January 2020. However, due to the expertise of Dr. Jalikatu who successfully did an eye operation on the 14th January 2020 he once again regained his sight and was discharged on the 19th January 2020.
“She has proven that Sierra Leoneans can medically do professional eye operations provided they have the necessary supports,” an elated Al-Sankoh stated adding that for her to become an eye specialist at such a tender age is very much impressive as she is doing a wonderful job.
“As I was suffering from Glaucoma and Catarrack I lost my sight for almost two months. I was thinking of traveling abroad for advanced medical treatment but she gave me confidence that she will conduct a successful operation which she did and it turned out to be a success story. Thank God Almighty today I can see. She is just too committed and very hardworking,” Al-Sankoh narrated.
Al-Sankoh stated that the Government needs to invest in young people because they are fast learners and Jalikatu has demonstrated that.
He continued by saying that Sierra Leoneans suffered a lot when the Ebola virus breakout partly because the country lacked many competent and professional health workers but pointed out that with the rapid transformation taking place in the health sector he believes things will change for the better.