Trachoma is a serious illness that can cause blindness to those who are affected by it. Sightsavers teamed up with the company Pfizer to deliver the antibiotics needed to treat the affliction to thousands of people in Yemen. The volunteers that were trained to deliver the medication, Zithromax, were mostly women who wanted to help improve the lives of the people suffering in the war-torn area. Trachoma is preventable and treatable as long as those who get it have access to the medications needed. This is where organizations like Sightsavers comes in.
The medication was delivered to 273 villages throughout Yemen where women were chosen due to the customs of the locals. In Yemen, men are generally not permitted into the homes where the children and women who need treatment were. The dangers of Trachoma are very serious and Sightsavers wants to save the vision of as many people as they can. Trachoma is one of the oldest known diseases in the world and is mainly spread by touch and flies. The bacterial infection can cause scarring in the eyelid which causes the eyelashes to constantly scrape against the cornea whenever the infected person blinks. It is considered a neglected tropical disease.
Sightsavers states that in Yemen alone, there are as many as 2.5 million people who are in danger of contracting Trachoma. This information was gathered by the Global Trachoma Mapping project that is led by Sightsavers. The many years of war that have taken place in the country have made it difficult for the residents of Yemen to maintain proper sanitation conditions in order to prevent such diseases. Simon Bush, Sightsavers’ Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases, notes that the obstacles to delivering the medication to those in need in Yemen are quite immense due to the combination of extreme poverty and the effects of the long-lasting war.