Trachoma is an infection of the eye that blinds millions of people every year, but it is easy to prevent though improved hygiene, and can be treated with antibiotics. Even in advanced cases, blindness can be prevented with simple surgery. The disease is prevalent in dry dusty areas, like those in which the Maasai people live in Kenya.
With your gift, AMREF will train and equip a volunteer to make visit nearby families, to keep track of who in each family has an infection using colored beads, and to treat the infection with antibiotic ointment. If someone has had repeated infections, the eyelid will begin to turn in, and this will eventually scar the cornea and cause blindness. The trachoma worker will refer anyone with this condition to a nearby health facility, where AMREF has trained the nurse or clinical officer to do the simple surgery that can correct the condition. To prevent repeat infections, volunteer trachoma workers teach the communities how to prevent trachoma through better personal and community hygiene. The Maasai woman in the picture is washing her face at a “leaky tin," which holds a small amount of clean water. This is one important way to prevent trachoma.