When you are working in mobile eye clinics, you can experience very difficult situations with individuals that will impact your whole life. For me this happened in March 1987, soon after I moved back to my area and went to the villages. I saw hundreds of patients. Many were completely blind, and about half of these were blinded by onchocerciasis. I was shocked, because as an ophthalmologist, I could not do anything for them… One young man, 24 years old, a fisherman, was completely blind and it was irreversible. When I saw him, his expectation was that I could help him, but I said, “No, I cannot.” Then he said, “If you cannot help me, I’m going to go back home and kill myself.  I don’t have any reason to live in this world.” I was powerless. I knew I had to do something for this community instead of just focusing on individual cases. Later that same year, we heard about the drug ivermectin, and I knew we could begin to address the problem for future generations through mass drug administration.  (read more)