Making trachoma a thing of the past

Operation Eyesight staff measures the height of children as a part of administering antibiotics to prevent trachoma
Written by Colin Zak, published on June 21, 2022 Sign up for eNews

Did you know trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Kenya and many parts of Africa?

This painful bacterial infection causes irreversible blindness if left untreated. Worse yet, women and children are more likely to contract this condition.

We are supporting the distribution of antibiotics in Kenya’s Narok County to treat and reduce transmission of trachoma. This is happening in partnership with the local Ministry of Health and other partners, with the goal of eliminating trachoma from the county by 2025.

Community health volunteer Peter Reyia administers antibiotics in Orbama Village, Kenya, to help eliminate blinding trachoma from the area. This work is continuing in Summer 2022 as we take one more step towards making Kenya trachoma-free.

“Narok is home to many who raise cattle, which attracts flies that spread trachoma. We are now building on the success of our work to date in the area,” explains Alice Mwangi, our Country Director for Kenya. “Treating and preventing transmission of trachoma through distribution of antibiotics is one of the most effective ways to eliminate this condition from entire regions.”

In 2021, our Kenya team distributed antibiotics to more than 460,000 people in Narok, covering nearly 90 per cent of the target population for this program. In summer 2022, we are leading another planned Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in the region.

Our trachoma elimination projects are designed to implement all four components of the World Health Organization-recommended SAFE strategy:

Surgery to treat advanced cases of trachoma;

Antibiotics to eliminate infection, which includes Mass Drug Administrations (MDA);

Facial cleanliness; and

Environmental improvement such as wells, boreholes and latrines.