The Transformative Gift of Sight

Country Context

This program originated as part of the Legatum Foundation’s first strategic initiative for the prevention of blindness in Zambia. During this initiative it was discovered that there were a high number of cases of trichiasis (late stage trachoma) and that trachoma was likely endemic. Disease mapping confirmed the presence of trachoma in at least two districts and therefore a treatment campaign was needed. The END Fund stepped in to support this initiative to eliminate trachoma in two provincial districts.

END Fund Investment

This program has two major components: a broader prevention of blindness program and the elimination of trachoma initiative. The trachoma intervention is built around the SAFE strategy (surgery, antibiotics, facial washing, and environmental improvements). The END Fund has invested heavily in the F (facial washing) and E (environmental improvements) factors of the SAFE strategy, in the form of clean water and sanitation through a program known as community-led total sanitation (CLTS).

Program to Date

The S (surgery) and A (antibiotics) components are implemented by St. Paul’s Mission Hospital, a specialist eye clinic that conducts inpatient and outpatient services as well as community mobilization campaigns. The F (facial washing) and E (environmental improvements) components of the program were implemented by Every Home for Christ Zambia (EHCZ). In 2013 the program treated over 315,000 individuals for trachoma, achieving a 97% coverage rate among the eligible population. In connection with treatment, 947 community drug distributors were trained. The program has also reached 285,000 individuals with SAFE health education messages and because of investments in clean water and sanitation, 21,500 community members accessed clean water from 154 rehabilitated water sources, and 101 villages were declared open-defecation free.