Sightsavers And Their Fight To End Trachoma

At a TED Talk, the CEO of Sightsavers shared her mission to fight tracoma. Prior to Caroline Harper stepping onstage, most of the audience had probably never known of tracoma. Caroline said and did everything possible to get her message across.

Sometimes people respond better to visuals; it takes actually seeing something to grasp the magnitude of a situation. What did the audience see? Tweezers hanging around Caroline’s neck. Caroline stepped on stage with tweezers on her neck to show everyone in the audience what children and adults who live with tracoma have to carry with them every single day of their lives. No, the kids aren’t plucking their eyebrows; they are plucking their lashes.

When children frequently get tracoma infections but aren’t fortunate enough to receive the proper treatment, scar tissue begins to form beneath their eyelids, causing the eyelashes to invert and rub against the cornea. This constant unpleasant rubbing causes blindness in the most uncomfortable and most painful way imaginable. In an effort to combat the pain that they feel from this disease, girls wear tweezers around their necks to constantly pull out their lashes.

Doing this only provides temporary relief, however, and the lashes grow back worse than ever. Since ancient Egypt, people have been recording trachoma. No, they didn’t have laptop computers back then to keep files of everything, but they did have murals. The Egyptians drew very saddening pictures of their plight with trachoma.

However, there is hope for everyone battling trachoma because this disease is 100% treatable and even has a cure. With collaboration efforts, Sightsavers is working to end trachoma and the symptoms that go along with this terrible disease. One of the methods that Sightsavers and the World Health Organization is using to combat trachoma is the SAFE strategy, an acronym that stands for surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement.

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