CEO of Sightsavers, Caroline Harper, talked about trachoma in Vancouver in order to bring attention to the very present problem that many people face in some areas of the world. Trachoma is one of the largest causes of blindness, and it is infectious. Harper was wearing a pair of tweezers on a chain around her neck to represent what lengths girls in Africa have to go to in order to gain a small amount of relief from the horrible effects of the vicious disease. They use tweezers to pull out their eyelashes that are rubbing on their corneas because of the scar tissue that causes them to become introverted.
Over 182 million people are close to becoming blind because of the disease which is preventable and treatable. This one disease is wreaking havoc on entire communities. Fortunately, thanks to alliances in global health, many countries have been able to eliminate trachoma. Morocco was one of them and banished the disease in 2016. In 2017 Mexico, Laos, and Cambodia were rid of the disease as well. About six other countries are not far behind.
They would not have been able to achieve their freedom from the debilitating diseases if members such as Sightsavers had not joined forces together and worked together under the SAFE strategy. SAFE is short for surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement. It is an effective strategy that works and the Tropical Data service is making it possible to gather important information on where such programs have been successful and where they are needed.
The Audacious Project part of Sightsavers has included trachoma as one of its projects since they realize that the only thing preventing many countries from having complete freedom from the devastating disease is simply resources. Ridding the world of trachoma is a huge but attainable feat.