Heart to Heart International aims to eliminate the blinding tropical disease, trachoma in developing countries by implementing WHO endorsed SAFE strategy to adopt interventions in surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environment improvement.
Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world. It is caused by a bacterial infection and a painful roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids and breakdown of the outer surface or cornea of the eyes while transmitted through contact with eye and nose discharge of infected people. If untreated, eyelashes become inverted and rub on the clear cornea, painfully scratching it and causing damage. This eventually results in opaque and scarred corneas and devastatingly, blindness.
Trachoma is a disease of poverty, occurring in the most disadvantaged communities where living conditions are severe, water is scarce, and sanitation is inadequate. It is also spread by flies which have been in contact with the eyes and noses of infected people. WHO estimates approximately 232 million people live in trachoma endemic areas and are at risk mostly concentrated in sub Saharan Africa.
Heart to Heart International is committed to the World Health Assembly resolution which targets trachoma for elimination as a public health problem by the year 2020. Heart to Heart International is a member of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control, which advocates for the implementation of the World Health Organization’s SAFE strategy, and committed to GET 2020(Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020). Since 2008, the foundation has been working to eliminate trachoma in the most prevalent communities of the endemic countries in Africa. In partnership with local government and communities, Heart to Heart International implements surgical programs as well as advocacy activities to prevent trachoma while endorsing the WHO’s SAFE strategy.