This was the reality for Hibret Dessu, a mother of three from Ethiopia. In rural regions, such as Hibret’s village, clean water is hard to come by. This lack of water, coupled with a lack of knowledge around why hygiene is so important, means people are more at risk of contracting blinding diseases such as trachoma.
Hibret is married to a farmer and spends much of her time at home taking care of her children, cooking and tending to livestock. Little did she know that this is where her sight was most at risk. An open fire and young ones with sticky fingers can be aggravating factors, and easy ways to spread this horrific infection.
Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world and repeat infections can cause the eyelashes to grow inwards – painfully scraping and blistering the surface of the eye. It can be treated, but only if it is caught in time.
Women such as Hibret, who often stay at home with their young ones, are four times more likely than men to eventually need surgery from advanced trachoma. And what’s worse is that they can easily pass it to their children.
Recently, Hibret was devastated to discover that two of her three children had also contracted the disease. She was already in pain from having repeat infections and was terrified that her children would suffer as she had.
But with your help, we can reach vulnerable women like Hibret and provide them with the trachoma surgery needed to stop their pain and suffering – and, at the same time, distribute the sight-saving antibiotics to treat and protect their families against future re-infection.