We would like to share two amazing stories of our friends Sightsavers and what they have been doing this summer 2016.
Washing away disease
In some parts of Turkana county, Kenya, as many as 73% of people have the potentially blinding disease,Trachoma.
Trachoma starts off as a bacterial infection similar to conjunctivitis and can be easily treated. Failure to treat it over time causes scarring to the eyelid which makes the eyelashes turn inward and scratch the eye. It is unbearably painful and can eventually cause blindness.
Proper sanitary habits are essential factors in preventing the spread of trachoma. The infection causes eyes to become sticky, which attracts flies that pass on the infection to other people. Trachoma is also easily passed on by touch and on clothing, so women (usually the primary caregivers) and children are most affected by it.
Sightsavers has been working for the past year to improve sanitation facilities at Kachiemeri primary school.
Before the improvement work at Kachiemeri began, the school had no access to fresh water or latrines – the nearest fresh water source was 2km away.
Children play a key role in the prevention of this infection, as they learn new sanitation habits at school and take home their new-found knowledge to their families. Kachiemeri school now has latrines, a clean water supply and a greatly reduced risk of new trachoma cases.
He lost his sight to a disease known as river blindness while earning a living as a fisherman.
River blindness (Onchocerciasis) is caused by a parasitic worm transmitted by the bite of a black fly. As well as eventual blindness, Onchocerciasis can cause an intense and unbearable itching that can’t be stopped without treatment.
When Emmanuel was younger, he would spends his days fishing in the Pru River in Ghana – which is also a breeding ground for the black fly.
He said: “I noticed a long time ago I had a problem with my eyes but it started gradually, it didn’t come all of a sudden – but week by week.”
A treatment called Mectizan® is now distributed with the help of Sightsavers- supported volunteers. It eases symptoms and protects sight.
“I already have blindness, but we are now protecting the others, the little ones. If we do not protect the children from river blindness they could go blind too.” Says Emmanuel