Distributing Antibiotics to Prevent Blindness

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.  


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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Orbis Ireland

Sandyford, Dublin, Ireland

Project Leader

Diane Weatherup

Development Manager
Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland

Where is this project located?

Map of Distributing Antibiotics to Prevent Blindness