Grey Mist Lifting

A Weekly Blog About Lives Changed Through Eye Care

Like many developing countries, Ghana faces inadequate access to eye health services, which is why we’ve been working there since 2006. Our Ghana team knows that many people are fearful of accessing eye health care because of lack of awareness, poor service, distance, affordability and long wait times.

Thanks to funding from our partner Seeing is Believing, our staff worked with a local communications agency to develop print advertisements and television commercials (see samples below) that build awareness of avoidable blindness.

The ads encourage Ghanaians to treat blindness as an enemy – being fearful of it because it can destroy their livelihood, while being grateful that there is help available to effectively combat avoidable blindness. Good news: our team has noted an increase in eye surgeries in the areas where the ads are running!

One of our four print advertisements running in Ghana.

One of our four print advertisements running in Ghana.

Awareness-building is vital to all of our community eye health programs. Please help us reach more people by donating to our outreach programs today. Thank you for your support!

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We first told you about Majuli Island back in Spring 2014. Located in India’s remote state of Assam, it’s home to 168,000 people. Before Operation Eyesight launched a Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program there in 2012, the island had no eye care at all.

Thanks to a video documentary created by our Canadian intern Adrian Parlow, you can check in on our community health workers, hospital partner and the people of Majuli and see how we’re doing!

Operation Eyesight’s hospital partner for Majuli is Chandraprabha Eye Hospital, located in Jorhat, Assam. Established in 2005, the hospital was our first Non-Financial Technical Partnership. It’s now one of the most reputable hospitals in the region, houses two prestigious training schools and performs 4,200 surgeries annually.

Together, Operation Eyesight and Chandraprabha set out to eliminate avoidable blindness on Majuli Island. When our locally-hired community health workers began a comprehensive survey, they found that gender discrimination, vitamin A deficiency, poor sanitation, malnutrition and other issues all compounded the lack of eye health care.

Based on the survey, the project team and hospital management developed plans to tackle cataracts, blindness and other eye problems. To date, almost 3,800 people from the island have undergone surgery to restore their sight, over 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses have been dispensed and 83,500 people have attended health education workshops. Immunization of children under five and coverage of antenatal and postnatal care have all reached 85 percent.

In 2015, we were able to declare a total of 21 avoidable blindness-free villages on Majuli! Although there is much more to do, none of this work would be possible without our amazing donors. Thanks to donor support, people in places like Majuli Island no longer have to live in darkness; they have been given the gift of sight!

Watch Adrian’s full 30-minute documentary here. Thanks to Adrian for helping us see the impact of this important project!

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Last fall, world leaders adopted the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All of us in the eye health community have an important role to play in achieving these global goals, particularly Goals 1 through 6. Read on to learn how Operation Eyesight’s work to eliminate avoidable blindness is helping transform the world.

Subhas climbing a date tree

SDG #1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. About 90 percent of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings. If people can’t see, they can’t work to earn a living. By preventing blindness and restoring sight, we’re helping people keep their jobs or return to work. The more people we help, the more communities thrive and the closer we are to breaking the cycle of poverty.

We’re also helping the world end poverty through our work to eliminate the eye disease trachoma. Those blinded by trachoma get trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, which in turn can destroy the economic well-being of entire communities. It’s estimated that, globally, trachoma results in US$2.9 billion in lost productivity per year. Fortunately, we’re implementing a strategy in Zambia and Kenya that’s proven effective in eliminating trachoma. Click here to learn more.

We’re also helping the world end poverty through our work to eliminate the eye disease trachoma. Those blinded by trachoma get trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, which in turn can destroy the economic well-being of entire communities. It’s estimated that, globally, trachoma results in US$2.9 billion in lost productivity per year. Fortunately, we’re implementing a strategy in Zambia and Kenya that’s proven effective in eliminating trachoma. Click here to learn more.

SDG #2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Did you know that malnutrition contributes to avoidable blindness? We’re particularly concerned with vitamin A deficiency, especially in children. Up to 500,000 children go blind each year as a result of this condition. Sadly, half of those children die within 12 months of going blind. We’re working to distribute vitamin A supplements to those in need. Learn more here.

SDG #3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Our programs are designed to provide quality eye care to all, regardless of age, gender or ability to pay. Through our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program, local community health workers are trained to conduct door-to-door surveys, identify eye health issues, refer patients for treatment, and educate the community on eye health and general health. As a result, we’re able to provide eye care to those who would otherwise go unreached, and communities become healthier and stronger.

SDG #3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Our programs are designed to provide quality eye care to all, regardless of age, gender or ability to pay. Through our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program, local community health workers are trained to conduct door-to-door surveys, identify eye health issues, refer patients for treatment, and educate the community on eye health and general health. As a result, we’re able to provide eye care to those who would otherwise go unreached, and communities become healthier and stronger.

#4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all. When children can see, they can read and go to school! Our school eye screening programs allow us to identify children who are struggling with low vision or other eye health issues. We can then provide them with the prescription eyeglasses or other treatment needed to restore their sight. We’ve even trained teachers in Kenya to use a smartphone app to test their students’ vision. Learn more here.

#4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all.
When children can see, they can read and go to school! Our school eye screening programs allow us to identify children who are struggling with low vision or other eye health issues. We can then provide them with the prescription eyeglasses or other treatment needed to restore their sight. We’ve even trained teachers in Kenya to use a smartphone app to test their students’ vision. Learn more here.

Thank you!

Another way we’re helping children get a quality education is by providing communities with fresh, safe water through our trachoma programs (see SDG #6 below). Clean water is scarce in many rural communities in Zambia and Kenya. Children, typically girls, are tasked with fetching water for their families, often having to walk several kilometres to the nearest source. By providing villages with a safe water source nearby, we allow children to spend their time in school rather than fetching water. Even better, a dependable water source often attracts teachers and encourages communities to build new schools!

SDG #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Our programs in India and Africa are designed to involve both men and women. In fact, almost all of the community health workers we’ve trained in India are female. We empower women to find solutions to their eye care needs and develop eye health programs that will benefit their entire community. In addition, by eliminating the threat of blindness, we improve a woman’s ability to become an active participant in her community and contribute to her family’s socioeconomic stability.

SDG #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Our programs in India and Africa are designed to involve both men and women. In fact, almost all of the community health workers we’ve trained in India are female. We empower women to find solutions to their eye care needs and develop eye health programs that will benefit their entire community. In addition, by eliminating the threat of blindness, we improve a woman’s ability to become an active participant in her community and contribute to her family’s socioeconomic stability.

Clean water and proper hygiene help prevent the spread of trachoma, which otherwise spreads easily through contact with eye discharge from infected people’s hands, towels and clothing, and through direct transmission by flies. Fresh water and sanitation also dramatically improve the general health and prosperity of the whole community.

SDG #6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Providing communities with fresh water is an important part of our work to prevent blindness. In Kenya and Zambia, we develop wells and boreholes and educate communities on the importance of hygiene. With fresh water to wash their hands, faces and clothing, people are able to prevent the spread of the bacterial infection that causes blinding trachoma. Even better, improved sanitation aids in the reduction of other serious illnesses such as diarrheal disease, upper-respiratory infections and malaria. Learn more about our trachoma projects here.

Together with our donors, we’re helping the world reach its goals to end poverty, promote healthy living and ensure prosperity for everyone. With your ongoing support, we’ll continue our work to eliminate avoidable blindness, contributing to a sustainable future for us all. Thank you!

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Shakila is happy that she can see again! She’s had cataract surgery on one eye and plans to have the other eye operated on soon.

Shakila is happy that she can see again! She’s had cataract surgery on one eye and plans to have the other eye operated on soon.

Shakila, 52, lives in Bhopal, India. A widow, she works hard to support her two daughters as best she can through a variety of small jobs. She washes dishes and helps local farmers at the market by cleaning wheat and rice or grooming animals.

But these tasks became extremely difficult when her vision started to blur due to cataract in both eyes. As the cataracts matured, she became almost completely blind. In the late evenings on her way home from the market, she couldn’t see anything at all; she’d often fall down in the street several times as she slowly made her way through the darkness.

Eventually she couldn’t even clean crops at the market anymore, losing her family’s last source of income. Sadly, she suffered like this for five years, having neither the time nor the money to seek treatment.

Fortunately, help came to her when our partner hospital in Bhopal, Aman Advanced Eye Hospital (AAEH), implemented its Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program, which was developed by Operation Eyesight to help hospitals like AAEH reach more people in need of eye care.

The first stage of this program involves a door-to-door survey of every household in the target area. Community health workers, who live and work in the local community, screen residents for eye problems, educate them on the importance of eye health, and encourage them to use local health care services.

When Nagma, a community health worker, arrived at Shakila’s door and discovered her condition, she empathized with her and made it her mission to ensure Shakila got the treatment she needed.

While some hospitals in India offer free, government-sponsored cataract surgeries to poor patients like Shakila, AAEH is in the ironic position of having a government hospital nearby, so it’s ineligible to receive government subsidy. To make matters worse, the government’s facilities are severely lacking and provide only a few free surgeries per month, meaning the majority of poor patients go untreated.

Thanks to Operation Eyesight-trained community health workers, patients like Shakila (centre) can be identified and referred for treatment.

Thanks to Operation Eyesight-trained community health workers, patients like Shakila (centre) can be identified and referred for treatment.

In Shakila’s case, it was Nagma’s close relationship with the local community that allowed her to get the cataract surgery she so desperately needed. As a resident of the community herself, Nagma knew Shakila’s landlord and neighbours well, and she encouraged them to contribute the money needed to pay for one of Shakila’s operations.

Today, Shakila is a whole new person! She’s grateful to have vision in one eye again and is back at work at the market, saving up money so she can get her other eye operated on soon. With her dignity and independence restored, she’s also taking on new types of work to improve her standard of living.

Her wish is for Operation Eyesight’s hospital partners and donors to continue helping those in need. “The smallest help can have the most valuable results,” she says.  

Thanks to our generous donors, we’re able to support hospitals like AAEH and provide training for community health workers like Nagma. This means we’re able to reach patients like Shakila who would otherwise go needlessly blind. Please consider contributing to our outreach programs so we can give the gift of sight to even more people.

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: Our generous donors have helped many children like Darrel regain their vision! [Photo by Ronald Kefa.]

Our generous donors have helped many children like Darrel regain their vision! [Photo by Ronald Kefa.]

Look at the eyes of this beautiful baby! This is little Darrel. Just over 18 months old, he lives with his family in a low income community outside Nairobi, Kenya.

When Darrel was nine months old, his mother Beatrice noticed a problem with her baby’s eyes. They were always filled with tears and looked sore and red. Darrel’s irises also appeared larger than usual, and he had trouble focusing on objects.

Worried, Beatrice took her son to a local health centre. The doctor referred Darrel to a hospital near Nairobi, which in turn referred him to a pediatric eye unit. There, Beatrice learned that Darrel had glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve because of high eye pressure.

“I was shocked to learn this condition would gradually make Darrel blind,” Beatrice told our staff. “I wanted so badly to have him treated, but it was very difficult because of our financial situation.”

Beatrice also worried that if her son became blind, she would need to take care of him for the rest of his life. “My prayer was that my child could grow up and live an independent life.”

Fortunately, our Kenya team met Beatrice during the 2015 Standard Chartered Bank Nairobi Marathon. As a proud member of the bank’s Seeing is Believing funding initiative, Operation Eyesight had a booth to promote eye health awareness at the marathon.

Darrel and his mother two months after his operation. Today, he’s a happy, healthy toddler! [Photo by Ronald Kefa.]

Darrel and his mother two months after his operation. Today, he’s a happy, healthy toddler! [Photo by Ronald Kefa.]

Beatrice noticed the booth, approached our staff and asked them to examine Darrel. Her son was given an urgent referral to one of our partner eye units, and Darrel’s beautiful brown eyes were operated upon in January 2016. Luckily, the surgeries were performed at no cost to the family, thanks to the support of our funder Seeing is Believing.

Today, Beatrice is very happy! “The doctors have assured me that Darrel’s condition has been contained and will not worsen anymore. I’m sure he will grow to fulfill the dreams we have for him!” She and her family are grateful to everyone who ensured that her baby’s vision was saved.

She also has a message for our donors: “I appreciate the generosity of those who donated their money so that children like my son are treated free of charge. You know that operations are very costly and therefore unaffordable to low income earners. May God bless you abundantly!”

You can help us give the gift of sight to more children like Darrell. Please consider making a donation to help provide the medicine and supplies needed to treat causes of avoidable blindness. Thank you for your support!

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Anup Zimba, Operation Eyesight’s Senior Program Manager (far left) and the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise in the mountains of Jammu.

Anup Zimba, Operation Eyesight’s Senior Program Manager (far left), and the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise in the mountains of Jammu.

Last year, Operation Eyesight became the first and only NGO in the eye health sector to work in the challenging state called Jammu and Kashmir, India – and it’s all because of the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise!

Many people in this mountainous state live in remote areas with no roads, making it extremely difficult to reach eye care services. Thanks to Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club, we launched a Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program in partnership with the Rotary Eye Hospital in Udhampur to overcome this barrier.

Locally trained community eye health workers who know their way around Udhampur are able to screen residents living in remote areas and refer those with eye health problems for treatment. Patients who require surgery are transported by bus to the hospital.

Club members trekking through the mountainous region of Udhampur. Many people live in remote locations where there are no roads, just pathways like the one you see here. [Photos by Santosh Moses.]

Club members trekking through the mountainous region of Udhampur. Many people live in remote locations where there are no roads, just pathways like the one you see here.

Over the past year, 70,000 people have been surveyed. Of those, 1,900 were diagnosed with cataract and another 3,500 received a free pair of prescription eyeglasses.

In February, the Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club travelled from their Ontario home to Udhampur to see our projects first-hand. Here’s what the members had to say:

  • “I was very impressed with the quality of the staff. All seemed extremely competent and very motivated. We felt very comfortable that the project is in good hands!” – J.D
  • “I was totally awed by the work Operation Eyesight is doing and planning to do in India – both the quality and commitment of the staff and the volume of the work being done.” – M.D.
  • “It was very touching to see how our efforts impact the daily lives of those less fortunate.” – J.M.
  • “I vividly recall a villager who was functionally blind due to cataracts. Surgery allowed him to change his life from being a dependent to being a provider for his family.” – A.P.
  • “Thank you for the opportunity to share in the dream of Dr. Gullison, the vision of Art Jenkyns, and the ongoing work of your team.” – J.W.
  • “There can be no greater gift than to restore someone’s sight so they can regain independence and a productive life.” – S.M.

The Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club has been supporting Operation Eyesight for 20 years and will continue to fundraise for projects in Udamphur, including a dinner planned for October 1. If you’re in the Simcoe area and would like to get tickets, be sure to check norfolksunrise.org for updates.

Thank you, Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club, for your dedicated support – and thank you, John Wallace, for sharing your Club’s story with us. Rotarians truly are making a difference in the lives of others… for all the world to see!  

Santosh Moses, Operation Eyesight’s Country Manager of India (far left), members of Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club and staff from Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in the slums of Delhi and Noida. The Club had the opportunity to visit several of our projects in India.

Santosh Moses, Operation Eyesight’s Country Manager of India (far left), members of Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club and staff from Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in the slums of Delhi and Noida. The Club had the opportunity to visit several of our projects in India. [Photos by Santosh Moses.]

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After receiving sight-restoring cataract surgery, Arti is able to see and care for her children again!

Leila’s thoughtful donations have helped many people like Arti, a mother from India who can see again after undergoing cataract surgery. Thank you, Leila!

We love hearing from our donors and learning why and how they support Operation Eyesight. Many of our donors have struggled with poor vision in the past; they understand just how precious the gift of sight can be, and they’re dedicated to ensuring others can have their vision restored too.

Leila, from Toronto, ON, has been supporting Operation Eyesight for 20 years. She first read about our sight-saving work in the newspaper, where a photo of a blind bricklayer trying to support his children really tugged at her heartstrings. Wanting to do whatever she could to help, she began selling home-cooked lunches at her office every Friday, donating all proceeds to Operation Eyesight.

Leila, who has had bilateral cataract surgery herself, says, “There’s nothing like having your eyesight.”

She recalls that, at one of our donor teas, she met a woman who would give donations to Operation Eyesight in lieu of sending birthday presents. Now that she’s retired, Leila marks special occasions by making a donation to our cataract surgery program in the name of a friend or family member.

“Operation Eyesight’s doing a good job,” she says. “Our donations are working for what they’re supposed to.”

Like this man, James had cataract surgery so he knows just how precious eyesight can be. [Photo by John Welling]

Like this man, James had cataract surgery so he knows just how precious eyesight can be. [Photo by John Welling]

James, from Calgary, AB, has also seen and experienced the effects of vision problems. His grandmother was diagnosed with cataracts in her 80s when surgery wasn’t feasible, and his grandfather suffered from glaucoma with no solutions available to him.

Years later, James and his late wife, Joan, both also ended up with cataracts. Fortunately, they were able to have surgery to restore their vision.

James, now 91 years old, has been supporting Operation Eyesight for over 30 years. He says he’s always admired the work of our founder, Art Jenkyns, and knows just how much of a difference we can make in the lives of others by restoring their sight.

Thank you, Leila and James, for giving the gift of sight to others. And thank you for sharing your stories with us!

Tell us YOUR story! Contact us today.

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Joseph examines a community member’s eyes.

Joseph examines a community member’s eyes.

Joseph Siololo, from Kenya’s Narok County, was only 17 years old when a debilitating illness nearly killed him. “I was writing an exam when I collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital,” he recalls.

Unfortunately, doctors weren’t able to diagnose his illness, and he was sent home to be close to his family. At one ominous point, when they thought he had drawn his last breath, Joseph’s family started making arrangements for his burial. “My head was shaved, as is the Maasai custom, and hoes and shovels were gathered. Then… I started breathing again.”

Joseph went on to recover from tuberculosis of the blood after spending three months in hospital, but his hopes of becoming a surgeon were shattered. Having suffered partial paralysis, and with his parents’ meager resources, his education came to an abrupt halt. Without a proper education or career, what would become of him?

In 2015, Joseph’s dream of helping others was rekindled when he was given the opportunity to join Operation Eyesight in our work to eliminate the eye disease trachoma. Left untreated, trachoma causes the eyelid to turn inward and the eyelashes to rub the eyeball, which scars the cornea and ultimately leads to irreversible blindness. But with early diagnosis and surgery, a patient’s remaining vision can be preserved.

Joseph was trained to become a Trachomatous Trichiasis (TT) case finder in Narok. He helps identify, counsel and refer TT patients (those suffering with the late stage of trachoma) to an outreach camp for surgery.

Joseph educates his peers on trachoma during a TT case finders’ review meeting.

Joseph educates his peers on trachoma during a TT case finders’ review meeting.

He quickly proved himself to be one of our top TT case finders. At a review meeting last fall, he impressed his peers and our Kenya staff with his knowledge of trachoma and his ability to encourage patients to seek treatment. Within six months of his training, he had already identified and counseled 15 patients, 12 of whom had received surgery.

“When I encounter resistance from a prospective patient, I return with a previous patient who accepted surgery and was healed,” Joseph explains. “The new patient then becomes more receptive to the idea of surgery. Sometimes I have to bring the village elders on board to encourage people; however, with the counselling skills I gained during my training, I’m able to convince most patients to receive treatment.”

Many people in Narok live in remote areas, which means Joseph has to travel great distances in search of patients – a daunting task, especially for someone with a physical disability. He sets out early in the morning, and when he discovers someone with trachoma, it can often take several hours of counselling before the person agrees to go for treatment. It makes for a long day, but Joseph says he is motivated by the joy of the patients once they are healed.

Joseph explains the importance of surgery to a trachoma patient.

Joseph explains the importance of surgery to a trachoma patient.

His career path might not have turned out the way he intended, but in a way, Joseph’s illness has enabled him to help others. “I usually tell patients, ‘Look at me! I’m paralyzed because I didn’t get immediate medical attention. The reason I’ve come this far is to help you keep your eyesight by advising you to go for treatment early.’”

We’re extremely grateful to Joseph and his fellow TT case finders. Their efforts are vital to our mission to eliminate avoidable blindness, and their dedication to their communities is truly admirable. Thank you!

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For his last two birthdays, Rourke (now 8 years old) asked his friends for toonies instead of presents. He raised $50 for Operation Eyesight at his Star Wars-themed party last year, and we can’t wait to hear how much fun his roller-skating party was this year. Thanks Rourke!

For his last two birthdays, Rourke (now 8 years old) asked his friends for toonies instead of presents. He raised $50 for Operation Eyesight at his Star Wars-themed party last year, and we can’t wait to hear how much fun his roller-skating party was this year. Thanks Rourke!

When my kids were younger, it seemed like as soon as spring rolled around, we had a birthday party to go to every weekend. It was difficult to find time to shop for presents between work and running the kids around. And even when I did manage to slip out to the mall, it was hard to find that perfect gift for a child who probably already had more than enough Lego and colouring books, or an adult who likely had everything they needed.

Fortunately, Operation Eyesight can help take the stress and guesswork out of gift shopping. Have you ever heard of a tribute gift? It’s when you make a charitable donation in the name of a friend or family member. It’s a unique way to celebrate someone’s birthday (or other occasion) while at the same time help someone in need.

When you give a tribute gift to Operation Eyesight, you can request to have a greeting card or eCard sent directly to the recipient. Or, you can choose to have the card mailed to you so you can give it in-person or attach it to a smaller present.

A personalized card and a bottle of nail polish is a nice gift idea for a tween sleepover party. And a tribute gift goes great with a bottle of champagne for those milestone birthdays. Browse our Gift Guide to find the perfect virtual gift today!

If you’re hosting a party yourself, consider asking guests to make a donation to Operation Eyesight in lieu of gifts. It’s easy to create a fundraising page online or collect donations when guests arrive. Check out our Fundraising Toolkit to get started, or contact us toll-free at 1-800-585-8265 for more information.

Spring may be a busy time of year, but with a little help from Operation Eyesight, you can be a hit at all those parties. And best of all, you’ll be giving others the greatest gift of all: their vision! Thank you for your support.

Last summer, Dr. Mathew Zachariah (left) stopped by our Calgary office to drop off a donation and chat with our executive director, Brian Foster (right). Mathew had just celebrated his 80th birthday with family and friends and, in lieu of gifts, he collected donations on our behalf. He and his wife, Sara, have been supporting Operation Eyesight since 1988. Thank you both for your generous support!

Last summer, Dr. Mathew Zachariah (left) stopped by our Calgary office to drop off a donation and chat with our executive director, Brian Foster (right). Mathew had just celebrated his 80th birthday with family and friends and, in lieu of gifts, he collected donations on our behalf. He and his wife, Sara, have been supporting Operation Eyesight since 1988. Thank you both for your generous support!

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OE-HAPPY-WWD-2016-1It may seem odd that an organization dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness is working to provide communities with clean water, but 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.  

Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. Spread by bacterial infection, it transfers easily through contact with eye discharge from infected people on hands, towels and clothing, and also through direct transmission by flies.

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 ultimately 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, and Environmental change.

This strategy has proven to be successful. In the village of Ongata Naado, Kenya, where we drilled our first borehole, trachoma is no longer a major problem. An impact assessment in 2010 showed that the prevalence of active trachoma has reduced from 30.5 percent to 11 percent in the overall county.

And that’s not all! If you were to visit Ongata Naado today you’d see a luscious vegetable garden, a school overflowing with students, and many healthy, happy families. An entire community has been transformed, all thanks to our generous donors!

We know there’s still much work to be done in countries like Kenya and Zambia – and we can’t do it alone. We hope we can count on your continued support as we work to prevent trachoma and preserve sight.

Today, on World Water Day, please share this blog post with your family and friends and help us educate others on the importance of clean water. Thank you for your support!

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