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Sightsavers film chosen to represent UK at global health film festival

May 2020
Community health volunteers stand outside in Nachuru, Turkana, Kenya.

A Sightsavers film about trachoma trackers in Kenya has beaten more than 1,200 submissions to reach the top 15 for its category in a prestigious contest run by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO received 1,265 film submissions from 119 countries for its inauguralHealth for All’ film festival. The videos explored current challenges in global health, such as healthcare in conflict zones and reaching remote communities.

The Health for All festival aims to highlight the volunteers and community health workers striving to ensure everyone has access to the health care they need.

Dr Tedros Adhanom, director general of the WHO, said: “The volume, quality and diversity of entries for the Health for All film festival far surpassed our expectations. I am incredibly encouraged by the appetite among film-makers around the world, both amateur and professional, for telling public health stories.”

Sightsavers’ film showcases our work reaching remote communities in Turkana county, Kenya, where trachoma trackers have been tracing the last remaining cases of the disease. Watch the film below:

Community health volunteer Ngurotin Lung'Or walks through the bush in the Turkana region of Kenya to perform eye checkups.

"I can see!"

Meet our mobile team of health workers saving sight across rural Kenya in this photo essay.

View the gallery

Trachoma, an eye infection that begins like conjunctivitis, thrives in dry and unsanitary conditions and causes eyelashes to grow inwards and scratch against the eyeball. In remote locations where people live far from healthcare facilities, it can be difficult to get proper treatment. Many resort to homemade remedies, such as using ash on the eyes or pulling out the eyelashes to reduce the pain. In more severe cases the disease can lead to blindness.

Sightsavers has trained community health volunteers to seek out remote or nomadic communities and identify cases of the disease. A quick surgery lasting just 15-20 minutes can alleviate the agony of the disease in its later stages, while inexpensive antibiotics can cure the infection if it’s caught in the earlier stages.

Pop-up surgeries can be set up virtually anywhere – even in the Kenyan desert – so in communities where trachoma cases are found, patients can be operated on straight away.

Find out more about Sightsavers’ work to eliminate the disease via our End is in Sight programme.

Check out the competition’s other entries here.

Aluna from Tanzania has her eyes checked for trachoma. They are visibly red and swollen.

What is trachoma?

Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, and is one of a group of conditions known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Learn more

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