We’re celebrating World Health Worker Week!

Healthcare workers are the beating heart of any healthcare facility; without trained, motivated staff, services will grind to a halt, and patients will not receive the level of care they need and deserve. This week, we’re celebrating the healthcare workers at CCBRT, who serve their patients and clients with pride.

Meet Rehema. One of the only Prosthetic Eye Technicians in Tanzania, Rehema provides a life changing service to patients who would otherwise face a lifetime of stigma. When Rehema first joined the CCBRT team, she didn’t expect to end up working at the cutting edge of rehabilitative care.

Photo credit: Sala Lewis

Meet Rehema
“In 2005, I joined CCBRT’s team as a cleaner in the hospital. After 2 years, my managers realized I had a positive attitude and a desire to learn. They promoted me to Nurse’s Assistant. I was very excited about this chance; I had always wanted to know more about what the nurses around the hospital did. Then, CCBRT supported my training as an Ophthalmic Assistant, and also supported me through 2 years of nursing school.

While I was working in the CCBRT Eye Department, the Doctor In Charge saw that I had artistic talent, and he nominated me to take part in a training course to become a Prosthetic Eye Technician. I felt very lucky to be picked to participate in a program like this and to have the chance to develop my skills.

My journey to become a Prosthetic Eye Technician was challenging.

My friends told me that I shouldn’t take part in the training because I didn’t know how to make artificial eyes and the smell of the materials I would use would be strange. Then my entire class dropped out of the course, leaving me as the only student. Thankfully, I had a good teacher. Mr. Colin Haylock convinced me that I could help many people in this role, and could provide a service that was desperately needed. It gave me confidence to successfully complete the program. Every year, Mr. Haylock returns to CCBRT to update me on the newest techniques in the field.

Since 2009, I’ve worked with my own mentees, to ensure that CCBRT and other health facilities are able to serve the high number of patients seeking artificial eyes across the country.

I feel my biggest accomplishment is providing an artificial eye service that receives so many patients. Hospitals are always calling to say ‘Rehema, can we send this patient?’ and I can say, ‘yes, please send them.’ Because patients come from all over Tanzania to my workshop, I always strive to be efficient in my work to ensure that my patients can leave with an artificial eye just hours after meeting with me.”

I am happy to change lives. My favorite part of working at CCBRT is helping people who have a disability; Patients come with a sad face and one eye and they leave with two eyes and a smile.

Thanks to your support, we can identify people with the potential to change lives, and unlock opportunities for them to learn, grow, and realize their ambitions. The impact ripples out as people like Rehema, motivated by their work and empowered by their mentors, are able to share their passion and skills with others. Together, we can build a strong workforce with the drive and the knowledge to change lives throughout Tanzania.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Happy Health Worker Week from all of us at Kupona Foundation!