Tackling trachoma Fred's way in Kenya
Thirty-five years after Professor Fred Hollows conducted a nationwide trachoma survey of Australian Indigenous communities, The Foundation is tackling the disease in two remote districts of Kenya.
The Foundation has begun conducting surveys in the districts of Trans Mara and East Pokot - the results of which will shape future work to end trachoma in the region.
Trachoma is an eye disease that is common in poor, overcrowded communities that lack access to clean running water and good sanitation. Left untreated, it can eventually lead to blindness. It is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world, impacting 100 million people in around 57 countries.
The dry, arid and dusty ecology of the upper-eastern and north-western regions of Kenya combined with lack of water and good hygiene practises lead to recurring eye infections that may develop into trachoma.
The good news is that trachoma is preventable and treatable through a holistic health strategy known as SAFE which combines surgical intervention, with antibiotics, face washing and environmental improvements.
Once these measures are implemented in areas known to be endemic with trachoma, the disease can be eradicated from entire populations.
The Foundation is part of a movement aiming to eliminate trachoma globally by the year 2020. Surveys are an essential starting point in the treatment of trachoma as they provide data essential to planning the implementation of the SAFE strategy.
Results from these surveys are expected to be available in early September.
Fred Hollows first came to the attention of Australians after he led a trachoma survey across 465 Indigenous communities during the mid-1970s. These surveys saw 100,000 people screened, 27,000 people treated for trachoma and 1,000 operations performed. As well as treating eye diseases, Fred's work also raised awareness of poor Indigenous health and helped lift those issues into the mainstream Australian media.
The Foundation is carrying on Fred's legacy by using similar survey techniques to now help the people of Kenya. With the right level of support, trachoma is destined to join smallpox and polio (almost eradicated) as diseases which no longer cause human suffering in some of the most disadvantaged places on earth.
Learn more about our Kenya program.
Make a Donation
Call us: 1800 352 352