Sightsavers is dedicated to preventing blindness and improving eye health around the world. One of their main focuses is the preventable bacterial infection Trachoma. Sightsavers is determined to try to eradicate this disease wherever they can, but it is difficult in areas that are highly impoverished due to conflicts and other economic problems. The war-torn area of Yemen is one of the main focuses in Sightsavers’ fight against Trachoma.
Despite there being numerous roadblocks and conflict zones, a volunteer group of more than 4,000 people were transported by health officials into the areas that needed treatment the most. With this effort, 440,000 doses of Zithromax, an antibiotic by Pfizer, was distributed to 273 villages in Yemen. These 4,000 volunteers were almost entirely female to make the distribution easier due to the local cultures that look down upon men entering the homes of women and children. Along with the antibiotics, sanitation kits were also delivered to the people in need. These sanitation kits were donated to the people of Yemen by the World Health Organization.
This distribution was the first of its kind to prevent the spread of the painful disease Trachoma. This effort was made in collaboration with Sightsavers, the World Health Organization, the Yemen Ministry of Health, the International Trachoma Initiative, and the Fred Hollows Foundation. These organizations are working diligently to try to improve the eye health of people around the world.
Trachoma causes blindness through the build-up of scar tissue on the inside of the eyelids. This scarring causes the eye to be scratched with every blink by the sufferer’s own eyelashes which are turned inward due to the inflammation. With enough damage, the afflicted can become completely blind or at least lose a considerable amount of their eyesight. Sightsavers hopes to be able to put a stop to this neglected tropical disease.