Adugna Amin Mohammed has been working in eye health and NTD control since 2015. She is an Eye Health and NTDs Programme Manager at Light for the World Ethiopia.
She is a public health expert and has a keen interest in behaviour change as a method to improve eye health and eliminate blinding Trachoma in communities.
Adugna spearheaded the national pilot initiative ‘Early Childhood Trachoma Education’ in recognition of the important role which young children play in the transmission of Trachoma. She introduced child-friendly methods in schools to help children learn about hygiene, including the provision of interactive charts for each child, simple explanatory pictures, songs and games. On behalf of Light for the World, Adugna worked with NALA Foundation and Early Starters International to create a cartoon character called “Toto” who teaches young children about Trachoma and how to avoid this neglected tropical disease through hand-washing and good hygiene.
The response to this approach was so positive that it was scaled up and introduced in 180 primary schools in Tigray. It has been recognised since as one of the best behaviour change tools for early childhood and will be used nationally too.
Adugna is a brilliant networker who knows that strength lies in numbers and collaboration. She has been working with the Tigray Regional Health Bureau and managed to connect the regional Trachoma and eye health programmes. Practically, this means that people who come to Trachoma outreaches also get thorough eye exams. Minor eye problems are treated directly while people with more serious eye problems such as Cataract or Glaucoma get transferral to the nearest Secondary Eye Care Units.
Integration of different health services has been on Adugna’s radar for years. She has worked to set up the Tigray Regional Eye Health Programme where an integration approach resulted in the provision of TT (trachoma trichiasis) surgeries alongside regular Cataract outreaches. Offering these medical services in parallel leads to better, more comprehensive treatment of eye diseases for the people in the region.
Adugna has also been the driving force behind Light for the World’s efforts to make NTD programmes inclusive of people with disabilities. Starting with a project called Every Life Matters and engaging in partnerships to share our learnings, Adugna has worked with partners and colleagues to raise awareness and develop tools for eye health and NTD actors on how to include people with disabilities, from the design of a Mass Drug Intervention or Trachoma surgery campaign to its implementation and evaluation.
Her strong role in ensuring quality and inclusiveness of services and programme approaches is commendable.
“To witness how people in rural communities get their eyes treated and their eyesight saved never gets old. I feel so honoured to play a part in making this happen and I love to find new ways to connect people with essential services. Everybody deserves the best healthcare possible and that must include eye health.”
– Adugna Amin Mohammed