Battling the weather to treat trachoma

From droughts to cyclones, extreme weather is making it harder to reach remote rural communities in Zimbabwe.

Senior programmes lead in Zimbabwe, Peter Bare, stands next to a flooded road.

All images © Jason J Mulikita

Right now, we‘re facing more challenges than ever when it comes to finding and treating trachoma – but with the help of supporters like you, we can keep reaching the children who need us most. 

Zimbabwe experiences devastating droughts during the dry season. The dusty conditions with little to no water makes the environment perfect for trachoma to breed and thrive. 

Trachoma can be passed on through the hands or clothes of an infected person, making hand washing and sanitation vital. But during the dry season, it’s incredibly difficult for families to maintain good hygiene, causing trachoma to spread faster than ever. 

Unfortunately, climate change is causing these droughts to last longer. This year was one of the worst on record, making our mission to eliminate trachoma more difficult. If we don’t treat people in time, their condition could develop into the more severe trichiasis – turning the eyelashes inwards until they painfully scrape the eye, and slowly steal sight. 

In Zimbabwe, they say ‘trachoma is found where the road ends’ because it tends to affect the most remote, hard-to-reach areas, where the roads are often in poor condition. When the rainy season arrives, the situation becomes even more dangerous. The flash floods can completely wash away homes, roads and vital transport links – devastating communities, and making our journeys to reach them even more difficult. 

Senior programmes lead in Zimbabwe, Peter Bare, stands in front of a flooded road.

At Sightsavers, we’re on a bold mission to eliminate trachoma in Zimbabwe, and worldwide. Despite the challenges COVID-19 and extreme weather brings, we know we have the programmes, equipment and incredible teams to eliminate this horrific infection forever. All we need now is people like you on our side. 

Peter Bare, our senior programmes lead in Zimbabwe, provides further insight into these challenges in the video below. Filmed during a trip to the Mbire district, Peter shares his experiences of battling the elements and shows exactly what he deals with to deliver treatment in remote rural communities.

Please help us reach children living in pain

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could help treat 165 children with antibiotics needed to end the agony of trachoma.

could provide eye health screenings for 56 children to identify conditions like trachoma.

could help pay for life-changing surgery for two people suffering with trichiasis, the most severe form of trachoma.

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