In 2000, world leaders adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which included eight international development goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Since then, United Nations member states and international organizations across the globe have been working to achieve the MDGs – which address common issues such as poverty, disease, quality of life and environmental sustainability – before the deadline of December 31, 2015.
As a member of the eye health community, Operation Eyesight helps address the MDGs through implementation of the SAFE strategy, a strategy that has proven effective in preventing the spread of the blinding eye disease trachoma.
Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. Caused by bacterial infection, it spreads easily through contact with eye discharge from infected people on hands, towels and clothing, and also through direct transmission by flies. Children are most susceptible to trachoma, and because of their role as primary caregivers, women are three times more likely than men to be blinded by the disease.
The SAFE strategy is a comprehensive treatment and prevention program that includes Surgery to treat the late stage of the disease, Antibiotics to eliminate infection, Face washing and hygiene education, and Environmental change including wells and latrines.
Properly implemented, the SAFE strategy permanently eliminates trachoma. Because of the emphasis on clean water and sanitation, it also dramatically improves the general health and prosperity of whole communities.
Come back next week to learn how the SAFE strategy and the MDGs both work to address similar issues, and why our donors’ support is so important in the war against trachoma!