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 3, 2016

An entire family is helped by a simple antibiotic

Orbis' goal is to reduce avoidable blindness due to trachoma - is a major public health problem in Ethiopia. Zithromax is the Pfizer-donated antibiotic used to protect against trachoma-an infectious disease that has blinded millions across Africa.Orbis is currently organising the mass distribution of the antibiotic across a region of two million people in southern Ethiopia. Orbis representatives distribute the antibiotic annually to the entire population. 

Adanech recently travelled, with two of her daughters, to a nearby village to receive their annual dose of the antibiotic, Zithromax. Ten years ago Adanech had suffered from trachoma and she developed the blinding form of the disease - trichasis - after repeated infection without treatment. At that time, she walked five hours to the nearest healthcare clinic where an Orbis-trained nurse conducted sight saving surgery.  

Adanech trusts Orbis and so when she heard about the Zithromax distribution from Health Extension Workers who visited her village, she wanted to make sure that her daughters received the medication and would not suffer from trachoma like she had. 

Adanech said: "In our community sight is very important because we need to go to fetch water, we need to go to buy something from the market, we need to go collect fire wood and the like and we use our eyes. If we have sight problems it is difficult to do all of these activities and we’re not going to be able to contribute. In the past I have seen people in our community that have had trachoma end up begging on the side of the road because they are unable to work. This medicine is going to help us be relieved from all these problems and that’s why I’m here".

Dec 2, 2015

Sight restoring Surgery in Dita, Ethiopia

Zerfinesh(26) and Muller(14 months)
Zerfinesh(26) and Muller(14 months)

On the 24th November I visited an Orbis funded eye clinic in Dita, Southern Ethiopia. During my visit I witnessed a surgery to reverse the causes of trachoma. I was amazed to witness this simple surgery, which costs just €6, which can quite literally change someone's life. The whole procedure took 20 minutes and the patient was on her feet and smiling immediately afterwards. 

While I was waiting to see the surgery, I met a 26 year old woman and her 14 month old son at the clinic. Zerefinesh told me she was worried about Muller's eye and heard that Orbis might be able to help. She had walked for two hours in the hot sun with Muller on her back, to reach the clinic. 

Zerefinesh explained how Muller's eye had been scratched by a rough leaf during a traditional baptismal ceremony. She was concerned that he might be blind in that eye as a result. An Orbis trained Health Care Worker examined Muller's eye and reassured Zerefinesh that he might need minor surgery when he is older but for now his sight should not be affected. 

This experience made me think about the broad changes that Orbis Ireland has made in this area. It shows the trust that exists within this community that Zerefinesh would know to go to Orbis for medical advice. By encouraging people to care about their eye-health, children like Muller will have more hope of leading a happy and healthy life. Eye health is being taken seriously by young mothers and families and is recognised as a priority. This has not always been the case. 

In order to successfully eliminate trachoma in these areas, this growing trust in Orbis' medical expertise and surgeries needs to continue. Your donations are making sure that whole communities receive the surgeries and medical advice they need. Thank you for your generous and continued support of our work. 

Sight restoring Surgery
Sight restoring Surgery
Dec 2, 2015

Orbis supplies water to a new community

A young girl washes her hands with the clean water
A young girl washes her hands with the clean water

I recently returned from a trip to Bonke in southern Ethiopia where Orbis is implementing the SAFE strategy in order to eliminate a blinding and life destroying eye disease - trachoma. 

I met with my Ethiopian colleagues who explained the four aspects of the SAFE strategy - Surgery, Antibiotics, Face Washing and Environment. Each of these four components are vital in order to eradicate this horrific disease. I was priviledged enough to witness, firsthand the impact of Orbis' work. 

Our first stop was the local school, which is situated in the most beautiful setting amongst the lush green hills of southern Ethiopia - a landscape that surprised me. There we were greeted with a welcome song and dance followed by a drama showing one boy being brought to the local health centre and being cured of trachoma and the other being brought to the traditional healer and suffering immense pain without being cured. 

These children are part of school eye care clubs and they teach their fellow students, families and communities the importance of washing their face and hands in order to keep diseases, like trachoma, at bay. 

The students were so proud to show off their Orbis-funded toilets at the school, built in 2013. Prior to this the kids would defacate in the surrounding fields, spreading disease. The use of toilets is a massive contributing factor to the reduction of trachoma in these areas. 

We were also shown a nearby clean water supply. The children were so proud to show us both the toilets and the water supply. I was delighted to see so many clean faces and to hear the school children's enthusiasm for demonstrating good sanitation. 

The development in this area is immense and Orbis is making real strides in eliminating this painful and torturous eye disease. That is only half the story however, Orbis is completely transforming this region by improving the awareness surrounding personal hygiene and providing much needed clean water.

This impact is due to the support of people like you - thank you!  

This girl keeps her face and eyes clean
This girl keeps her face and eyes clean
Orbis Eye Care Clubs
Orbis Eye Care Clubs
 
   

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