We have a longstanding commitment to eliminating trachoma as a public health problem in Ethiopia. If left untreated, repeated trachoma infections can develop into trachomatous trichiasis (TT), where the eyelid turns inwards, scraping painfully against the cornea. Ultimately, it can lead to irreversible blindness. Early in the year, cuts to the UK foreign aid budget left several million people in urgent need of antibiotics to prevent trachoma.
But, through additional funding provided by Sightsavers, Orbis Ethiopia successfully distributed 8,127,635 doses, nearly 50% more than their target. And they ensured every dose was administered in a Covid secure way. Trachoma remains the second major cause of blindness and the third major cause of low vision in Ethiopia. But trachoma impact surveys show the difference Orbis, in partnership with the Ethiopian government and other groups, is making.
Nearly half the 155 woredas (districts) in which Orbis UK funds programmes now show reduced infection levels. No further mass drug administration (MDA) is required in 33, and in five, no surgeries are required either. Trachoma is a highly infectious condition that can devastate people, families and communities. In 2021, Orbis partners took significant steps toward eliminating trachoma as a public health problem.