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.
Feb 12, 2015

Communities in Ethiopia trust Orbis

Meselech
Meselech

Meselech is a 20 year old student at the local school in Gereshe, southern Ethiopia.  

Her village has been part of the Orbis Mass Antibiotic Distribution Programme for three years now. At first, people were unsure of the benefit of the drug or if it was safe. However, after Orbis worked with community leaders, Community Health Workers and traditional healers the benefits of the antibiotics were made clear. After the second and third doses the community themselves could feel the benefit.

The distribution of antibiotics is just one of the four components of the World health Organisation's SAFE strategy which is recommended to eliminate the blinding eye disease, trachoma. 

Meselech is positive towards the antibiotic (zithromax) and about the fact that her village has the opportunity to take it. She and all her family have taken all three doses.

The first round had a 81% uptake, second 86% and the third 96%.

In line with distributing the antibiotic, Orbis is also conducting corrective surgery to reverse the effects of blinding trachoma; raising awareness of the importance of facial cleanliness to prevent the bacteria which causes the infection; and improving the surrounding environment through access to clean water and sanitation.  

Meselech says: “We know that the drug is not everything. Whether we take it or not we have to wash our face and hands and use latrines. We are also more aware of the health centre services available and we demand a good level of service from the centre and from our local government.

“Before Orbis we didn’t know anything about what was hurting our eyes. Now through leaflets, billboards, radio and teachers we know a lot of information. And I have now informed my parents and family so we all have made a change.

“I knew at least ten people in my village that had their eye lashes scratching their eye, and now they have had surgery and are trying not to get it again.”

Jan 30, 2015

Orbis gives Daniel the education he deserves

Daniel with his father
Daniel with his father

Daniel, 13, is the eldest child in his family. Since he was 10 he’d been suffering with pain in his eyes and a strong sensitivity to light. After hearing about free eye-care services whilst at the local market, Daniel’s Dad took him to the local Orbis-supported health centre. Daniel was examined and diagnosed with the latter stages of trachoma, where the eyelids turn inwards and the lashes scrape the eyeball, resulting in pain, discomfort and often permanent blindness. Initially Daniel resisted treatment as he was scared and so his situation got worse, forcing him to drop out of school.

With the persuasion of an Orbis-trained community health worker he finally agreed to undergo surgery. His surgery was a success and immediately his thoughts turned to going back to school. He says: “I got my vision back, along with my hope.”

A vision for education:

Because of debilitating eye problems, many children in Ethiopia, like Daniel, find it hard to attend school. Orbis identifies and trains people in local communities, including teachers, to look out for the signs of eye disease. We also support local hospitals with specialist equipment and training to perform sight-saving surgery on children.

By supporting Orbis you are not only saving a child’s sight, you’re also giving them their education and their future back.

Daniel, with his school books
Daniel, with his school books
Jan 6, 2015

Hand Washing in Dita

Hand Washing in Dita
Hand Washing in Dita

In November 2014, a group of Orbis Ireland supporters visited Dita in the Gamo Gofa region of Southern Ethiopia. It was truly breathtaking to witness the difference that access to clean water in this area has made to the lives of the local children.Orbis Ireland has been working in Dita since 2007, and, through a partnership with WaterAid, we have helped to ensure that the people of this region have access to clean water.

The WHO recommended SAFE strategy for trachoma elimination places a huge emphasis on the need for clean water. Without this vital life giving resource, eliminating trachoma would be impossible. Clean water is particularly important as the promotion of hand and face washing is central to Orbis Ireland's work in Dita. 

It was touching to see the bright, clean faces on our visit to a school attended by approximately 700 children. The school was covered in posters about the importance of hand and face washing and the children performed a play demonstrating good and bad practices for personal hygiene.With your help, Orbis Ireland have not only improved access to clean water in Dita, but also drastically reduced the risk of blindness for hundreds of children.Thank you for all of your support in 2014, you have helped us towards our goal of stopping avoidable blindness in Dita.

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