You may wonder why an organization dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness is working to provide communities with clean water. However, clean water is a crucial element in our strategy to prevent blindness, especially in Kenya and Zambia.
Without readily-available clean water, people can’t wash their faces and hands, clean their homes or wash their clothing. And if they can’t wash and sanitize, they can’t prevent the spread of diseases like trachoma, a painful eye disease.
Children are especially susceptible to trachoma, and because of their close daily contact with children, women are three times more likely than men to suffer the late painful stage of the disease. Left untreated, the eyelid eventually turns inward, causing the eyelashes to rub the eyeball and scar the cornea. This leads to irreversible blindness.
To prevent the spread of this terrible disease, we’re developing well programs in Kenya and Zambia. In fact, to ensure trachoma is eliminated once and for all, we’re implementing all four stages of the World Health Organization-endorsed SAFE strategy.
SAFE stands for:
- Surgery to treat trichiasis (the late stage of the disease)
- Antibiotics to eliminate infection
- Face washing and hygiene education
- Environmental improvement including wells and latrines
Clean water has other benefits to communities. It increases enrolment in school, creates economic opportunity and improves overall health. Operation Eyesight is drilling boreholes in places like Kenya’s Narok and West Pokot Districts and Zambia’s Sinazongwe District.
You can help us stop trachoma by donating to provide surgeries to treat the infection.