Sightsavers at the Science Museum

Sightsavers surgeon Samson Lokele features in the Science Museum’s new permanent exhibition in London, which showcases one of the largest medical collections in the world.

Samson Lokele poses next to his image in the Science Museum exhibition.

Travelling eye surgeon Samson Lokele, who works for Sightsavers in Kenya, features in the Science Museum’s permanent exhibition dedicated to medicine.

Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries opened in November 2019 and will be in place for the next 30 years. The galleries – the largest medical collection in the world – feature more than 3,000 medical artefacts from Henry Wellcome and the Science Museum Group, from a rare iron lung to Alexander Fleming’s penicillin mould and the world’s first MRI scanner.

The galleries include replicas of the surgical equipment that Samson uses to carry out eye operations in the field in remote regions. He was trained by Sightsavers and one of its partners, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, and became the first eye surgeon in Turkana county in northern Kenya.

During Samson’s career, he has operated on more than 3,500 people in the region to treat them for advanced trachoma.

Visit the exhibition

Daily, 10am-6pm

The Science Museum,
Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

How much?
Admission is free

About Samson’s work

Blinding trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, and is part of a group of preventable conditions known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It can be treated with antibiotics, while advanced trachoma can be dealt with via a straightforward operation lasting just 20 minutes. But in remote communities, many patients aren’t treated either because they don’t know help is available, or because they are unable to get to hospital.

Samson is part of Sightsavers’ mission to ensure everyone is able to get the treatment they need. Our cross-border outreach programmes enable us to help communities on the move by tracking their movements and navigating tricky terrain to reach them.

Border areas are often sites of conflict, so Samson works with the communities to solve issues through ‘peace caravans’, explaining that until there is peace, doctors cannot come to help them. This work with isolated and nomadic communities is a key part of Sightsavers’ efforts to eliminate NTDs.

How is trachoma treated?

An eye health worker holding some pink tablets.


Antibiotic tablets, donated by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, are used to treat the infection. Trachoma treatment is usually repeated annually for up to five years.

Dr Lukanga operating on Aluna at the surgical camp

Trichiasis surgery

Advanced trachoma, known as trichiasis, can cause the eyelashes to turn inwards. An operation stops the eyelashes rubbing against the eyeball, and can stop people from going blind.

Young girl washing her hands with water poured from a teapot by her father.

Cleanliness and hygiene

Communities are encouraged to change behaviour that can put them at risk of contracting trachoma, and are taught about the importance of face washing, hygiene and sanitation.

Learn more about our work to fight disease

Neglected tropical diseases