In Kenya and Zambia, Operation Eyesight is implementing the World Health Organization-endorsed SAFE strategy to treat and ultimately eliminate the blinding eye disease, trachoma. SAFE includes Surgery to treat trichiasis (the painful late stage of the disease), Antibiotics to eliminate infection, Face washing and hygiene education, and Environmental change including wells and latrines. As the photos below depict, there are many benefits to SAFE implementation.
This was the source of water for the Kalemungorok community in West Pokot, Kenya before a borehole was developed there. Villagers would dig through the sand in dry water beds to access water.
Wells like this one in Ongata Naado, Kenya provide fresh, secure water for cleaning and washing. In addition to preventing the spread of trachoma, improved sanitation aids in the reduction of serious illnesses such as diarrheal diseases, upper-respiratory infections, skin diseases and malaria.
Caused by bacterial infection, trachoma spreads easily through contact with eye discharge from infected people on hands, towels and clothing, and also through direct transmission by flies. Children are most susceptible to trachoma, and because of their role as primary caregivers, women are three times more likely than men to be blinded by the disease.
But the good news is that SAFE implementation reduces infant mortality through improved sanitation and the reduction of serious illness.
SAFE implementation also leads to improved access to education for girls, who otherwise would be kept out of school to assume their stricken mothers’ duties or to care for other afflicted family members.
A clean, safe water source gives communities the ability to irrigate crops and raise healthier livestock, which in turn improves nutrition. It also allows for increased income through the sale of excess produce and livestock.
SAFE implementation empowers women and girls by freeing them from the daily drudgery of searching for and carrying water. We also ensure women are included on well management committees.
Thousands of people have benefitted from, and will continue to benefit from, Operation Eyesight’s trachoma projects and implementation of the SAFE strategy. Children can attend school, fathers can earn an income and mothers can care for their families again. Communities thrive as a whole. And it is all because of our generous donors. Thank you!
You can read more about our trachoma projects on our website.