Orbis plans to eliminate trachoma in remote regions of Ethiopia in the hope to cure thousands of people suffering from the painful, blinding and life destroying eye disease - trachoma. It will do this by ensuring communities have regular access to clean water and sanitation. Orbis has started building and repairing the water pumps in the project areas.
Trachoma is an infectious eye disease and across the developing world it continues to bring pain, blindness and poverty to millions. Trachoma could be easily prevented by improving the surrounding environment. At present, community members have to travel long distances to fetch water and almost 60% of the water-pumps were non-functional. The water collected in such way is very precious and will be used for vital household functions, and face and hand washing is not a priority.
Orbis and WaterAid have agreed to continue working together on rehabilitation of non functional water schemes for the surrounding area. Rehabilitation of the non functional water schemes is found to be a cost effective approach that would significantly increase access to water. This will encourage face and hand washing which in turn reduces trachoma incidence. The project also involves training community members on how to perform minor repairs on these pumps to ensure they are in working order.
In 2007, Orbis adopted the World Health Organisation's SAFE strategy, to reverse the effects of trachoma; distributing antibiotics to treat the initial blinding infection; raising awareness of facial cleanliness to prevent the bacteria which causes infection; and improving the surrounding environment through improving access to clean water and sanitation.These measures combined, will contribute towards the eradication of trachoma in some of the poorest regions of Ethiopia.