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Clean water key to ending trachoma blindness – Operation Eyesight

SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Lusaka
OPERATION Eyesight Universal senior director Kashinath Bhoosnurmath has observed that trachoma blindness in people in rural areas can only be avoided if they practice cleanliness.
And over 1,750 households in Sinazongwe have benefited from the Surgery, Antibiotics, and Face Washing Education (SAFE) strategy where 150 boreholes have been drilled to curb trachoma blindness.
In an interview, Mr Bhoosnurmath said trachoma blindness is rife in areas where there is lack of clean water, poor sanitation and proximity to livestock.
“We did a survey to ascertain how rife avoidable blindness was in Zambia. We discovered that Sinazongwe was the worst-affected and that is why we concentrated our project in that area,” he said.
Mr Bhoosnurmath said the Sinazongwe Trachoma project has succeeded in reducing the overall trachoma prevalence in the district from 47 per cent to 7.6 per cent.
He said the survey also showed that households in the district lacked access to latrines and hence there was open defecation.
“The drilling and equipping of 100 water wells throughout the district provides clean water for many uses including face washing, a critical part of trachoma prevention”, Mr Bhoosnurmath said.
And Operation Eyesight country manager Patson Tembo said the drilling of 20 boreholes is currently on-going in Dengeza and Siameja areas of Sinazongwe district.
Mr Tembo said with more access to clean water by people  in rural areas, the more trachoma blindness will be avoided.
He said “we intend to expand this programme to other parts of the country once we realise full results of what we are doing in Sinazongwe.”

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