Our work Real stories Patricia's Story Optical Technician is screening the future of Sierra Leone Name: Patricia Country: Sierra Leone Occupation: Optical Technician Meet Patricia, an Optical Technician working in one of our Vision Centres in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone, like many African countries, suffers from a severe shortage of trained medical personnel, especially in the eye care sector. There is only 1 Optometrist in the country to serve a population of over 7 million. To address this overwhelming need for eye care workers, we work with the Sierra Leone government to sponsor students to study an Optometric Technician qualification in the Gambia. Here, students learn how to screen, refract and dispense glasses to their communities. So far we have sponsored 11 students to carry out this one-year intense training course. Patricia was one of the first students to qualify from this course and on returning to Sierra Leone, completed a one-year internship at Connaught Hospital, Freetown. Here, Patricia learnt practical skills to coincide with her theoretical training in the Gambia. Thanks to your continued support, Patricia then moved to the newly established Vision Centre at Koidu Government Hospital for further training. She is now permanently based at Kenema Government Hospital Vision Centre and can now use her skills to screen her whole community. She also manages the Vision Centre and visits satellite facilities in neighbouring facilities to share her skills and knowledge. Training local eye care workers is essential if a country is going to become self-sufficient. To help us support the training of more students, like Patricia, you can make a donation today.