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 many of the water-pumps are 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 is working with local organisations to fix all the non functional water schemes across this region - 104 in total. Rehabilitation of such water schemes is found to be a cost effective approach that significantly increases access to water. Access to clean and healthy water encourages face and hand washing which in turn reduces trachoma incidence. Orbis also trains community members on how to perform minor repairs on these pumps to ensure they are constantly in working order.
Orbis adopts the World Health Organisation's SAFE strategy in order to eliminate this blinding disease. This involves: conducting Surgeries 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.