In 2012, we tracked cases of trachoma in Ethiopia as part of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project. The data we collected showed that the disease was a public health problem in 90 per cent of districts: of the 109 million people who live in the country, more than 69 million live in trachoma-endemic areas, the highest of any country in the world.
The number of people who urgently need eyelid surgery to prevent blindness from trichiasis (advanced trachoma) is more than 693,000, again the highest number of any country worldwide.
To tackle this, Sightsavers is helping to roll out the World Health Organization’s SAFE strategy, which aims to stop the spread of trachoma through surgery, antibiotics, facewashing and environmental improvements. In 2019, we helped to distribute 15.2 million antibiotic treatments for trachoma in the country.
Sister Habiba Shemsu is an eye care worker in the south-west Arba Minch district, and she often walks eight hours a day to get to work. Yet she says it’s worth it to help save sight in rural Africa.Read her story