Orbis Ireland

Orbis' mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local partners in their efforts to prevent and treat blindness with the vision that this will lead to a world in which no one is needlessly blind, where quality eye care, education, and treatment are available to every human being.
Oct 18, 2011

ORBIS surgery saves the sight of a young boy!

Eye Care Worker Performing Surgery on a Patient
Eye Care Worker Performing Surgery on a Patient

Before ORBIS’s intervention into regions of southern Ethiopia, blind or visually impaired children like Abush Gudeta had little hope of regaining their sight.

Suffering from trichiasis, a blinding complication of trachoma in which the eyelids turn inward and eyelashes rake across the eye’s surface, Abush endured horrific pain and discomfort for almost two years. He ultimately struggled at school and was unable to assist with simple household chores.   

His parents met a neighbour who had recently received trichiasis surgery as part of an ORBIS program. They recommended that they take Abush to see the eye care workers that were scheduled to return to their local health centre in the coming weeks.

When the time came, Abush and his mother walked several miles to the health centre, where an ORBIS-trained eye care worker performed the simple 20 minute procedure on Abush. Thanks to this straightforward procedure, Abush’s pain was relieved and his vision preserved.

In this remote part of Ethiopia, where primary care service is almost non-existent, ORBIS is bringing hope to thousands of children like Abush. With your support we can continue to conduct numerous outreach programmes to conduct these simple surgeries.  

ORBIS is implementing the World Health Organisation’s “SAFE” strategy, which is designed to prevent and control trachoma through conducting sight saving Surgeries, distributing Antibiotics, educating locals on the importance of Face washing and improving the Environment.

Abush after Surgery
Abush after Surgery
Sep 27, 2011

Help Save Wajifo's sight by distributing antibiotics

Wajifo Wakara is a 20 year old man who lives in Zada, southern Ethiopia. Wajifo started to experience severe pain and suffered redness and profuse discharge in his eyes.  He had contracted the highly contagious and life destroying disease, trachoma.

Trachoma is a major cause of blindness in the world, found primarily in rural settings like Zada, in southern Ethiopia. If not treated properly, trachoma may worsen and cause blindness, due to scarring of the cornea. In Wajifo’s case, the pain he experienced had a serious impact on his ability to work, sleep, and help his family members, and on his overall health and wellbeing.

To reduce the episodes of trachoma ORBIS are desperately trying to transform this region. Not only through surgeries which cure the disease, but also through distributing the antibiotic zithromax (kindly donated by Pfizer), educating locals on the importance of personal hygiene and improving sanitation by providing clean water and building latrines.

In July 2010, Wajifo underwent trichiasis surgery in his right eye, conducted by an ORBIS worker. The operation was successful and he no longer suffers excruciating pain. Since then, he has had two rounds of zithromax. This will help prevent a recurrence of trachoma. Wajifo continues to visit the Zada Health Centre for regular treatment and check-ups. Here, he can access zithromax on an on-going basis, and ensure that the risk of contracting trachoma is kept to a minimum. He was also shown how to maintain facial cleanliness to prevent the bacteria which causes infection.

Pfizer has pledged to donate the antibiotic zithromax for the life of the campaign and to date ORBIS has received $68m worth of the drug. ORBIS is currently distributing over one million doses of the antibiotic per year in southern Ethiopia.

With your support we can continue to work towards completely transforming this region so the next generation can grow up free of the threat of blindness.  


Attachments:
Jun 17, 2011

ORBIS educates new villagers

ORBIS-trained health workers visit numerous villages throughout the region of Gamo Gofa, Derashe and Konso in order to distribute the antibiotic Zithromax. Many of these villages are extremely remote and therefore the knowledge of ORBIS and its sight saving work is completely unknown. In these cases is it at times not easy to convince villagers of the efficacy of the antibiotic. 

It is not uncommon for villagers to believe in witchcraft as a method to cure blindness and to convince them otherwise is at times a lengthy process.

Health workers first have to familiarise villagers with the antibiotic and convince them of its role in fighting trachoma. Then they have to persuade the villagers to overcome their suspicions about unknown medication, particularly when it comes to giving it to their children.

Zithromax offers a simple cure that has a marked success at controlling trachoma infection rates across Ethiopia!

ORBIS’s involvement in combating trachoma extends beyond the distribution of Zithromax. ORBIS promotes important behavioural changes to guard against re-infection, advocating and implementing the World Health Organisation’s “SAFE” strategy, which aims to eliminate trachoma through Surgery, Antibiotics, Face washing and Environmental improvement.

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