Project #6674

Distributing Antibiotics to Prevent Blindness

by Orbis Ireland
Mar 15, 2011

One dose of an antibiotic will save Bonsa's sight

Bonsa Lalenda is 10 years old, he lives in southern Ethiopia and is blind in one eye. His family took him to a clinic four years ago when they first noticed problems, but the ointment Bonsa was given failed to save his sight in his left eye.

Although it isn't known what caused the blindness in Bonsa's left eye, trachoma is a constant threat to the right. The disease is spread by flies, clothing and close human contact - particulary between mother and child - and festers in dry areas where people have limited access to water. Many Ethiopians consider trachoma an avoidable fact of life.

Four years later and Bonsa's parents brought him to an ORBIS outreach programme, distributing the antibiotic zithromax. After an examination by an ORBIS trained Health Worker it is clear that that Bonsa has trachoma in his right eye. Left untreated this infection would progressively get worse and extremely painful, eventually leading to blindness,

Trachoma can be treated in its early stages with a single oral dose of the antibiotic zithromax. It is recommended that an annual dose of zithromax is administered for three consecutive years. 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.

Bonsa received the antibiotic which cleared the infection and saved his sight.

ORBIS is currently distributing over one million doses of the antibiotic per year in southern Ethiopia.


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Organization Information

Orbis Ireland

Location: Sandyford, Dublin - Ireland
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Diane Weatherup
Development Manager
Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland

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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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