World NTD Day 2022: Trachoma Elimination

January 30 is World NTD Day - a day to highlight the action needed to control & eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) blind, disable and disfigure people, taking away not only their health, but also their chances of staying in school, earning a living, or even being accepted by their family or community. The Neglected Tropical Disease that Orbis primarily focuses on is trachoma.

We recently celebrated the news that trachoma has decreased by 91% since 2002 in endemic areas. This is all thanks to the collaborative efforts of the eye health community and those who support it, helping get clean water, sanitation, increase awareness and preventative antibiotics to those at risk.

How Orbis Is Tackling Trachoma

Thanks to the support of partners and donors, we have helped reduce trachoma infection rates in some regions of Ethiopia. Here's how we're addressing trachoma infections particularly in rural areas where there is limited access to healthcare.


We're training a whole host of outreach workers in hard-to-reach areas of Ethiopia to deliver the surgeries and treatments needed to fight the disease.


Since 2008 we've helped distribute 82 million doses of antibiotics to treat and prevent trachoma. The latest Mass Drug Administration took place at the end of 2021, with extra planning and precautions needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, our team in Ethiopia worked harder than ever to protect families from this blinding disease.


We're building awareness of the infection and promoting better hygiene through educating community health workers, health extension workers, teachers, local women’s group leaders, and community leaders about eye health.

Impact In 2021

Before the pandemic, MDAs took place in community settings in Ethiopia. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 has meant pivoting to a door-to-door approach since 2020. While safer, the process is nearly twice as time and resource consuming.

23 Years of Fighting Trachoma

Alongside our partners, we've made great strides in fighting trachoma over the last two decades. Not just through the distribution of antibiotics, but also by raising awareness of good hygiene — another critical tool in the fight against this blinding Neglected Tropical Disease.

In 23 years of fighting blindness in Ethiopia we have:

  • Supported the construction of 130 communal and school latrines as well as protected 34 water points in the southern region of Ethiopia
  • Fostered behavioral change as part of our trachoma-elimination program, partnering with organizations with relevant experience and resources
  • Led on trachoma-related research, including conducting more than 160 trachoma impact and surveillance surveys across Ethiopia’s SNNPR between 2017 and 2021
  • Helped conduct surveys quantifying the prevalence of trachoma across the entire SNNPR in 2013 in collaboration with the Global Trachoma Mapping project (GTMP), the Federal Ministry of Health, SNNP Regional Health Bureau and other wonderful partners
  • Teamed up with renowned academic institutes in groundbreaking research that will improve trachomatous trichiasis surgery management to reduce recurrence

This World NTD Day, we'd like to say a special thanks to all of our volunteers, partners and supporters who've been instrumental in the fight against trachoma. With your continued support, our ultimate goal to eliminate this blinding infection can be reached.


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