Integrated Eye Worker Tsehay talks with patient Asedech

Orbis joint winner of photo competition

A photo beautifully capturing Orbis’s sight-saving work is the joint winner of a photo competition aiming to raise awareness of the work being done to beat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) around the world.

Integrated Eye Worker Tsehay talks with patient Asedech

Joint winner of photo competition. Credit Geoff Oliver Bugbee

Geoff Oliver Bugbee's image captured Orbis-trained Integrated Eye Care Worker Tsehay comforting 13-year-old Asegedech, who is suffering from severe trachoma, a neglected tropical disease (NTD).

Winners of the competition, held by the NTD NGO Network (NNN) and Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, were announced at the NNN Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday.

When we caught up with Tsehay recently, she told us how happy she is when she helps people regain their sight, and that her patients call her the ‘mother of eyes’!

Integrated Eye Care Worker Tsehay at the Gamo Gofa Zada Health Clinic in Ethiopia

Tsehey by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

Geoff says: "Working as a socially-concerned photographer for the last 20 years, I couldn't imagine a more compelling opportunity than to be entrusted with my eyes and cameras to further the work of Orbis, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of avoidable blindness.

"I find it tremendously rewarding to know that the images that I shoot help to broaden awareness and relate real human stories that convey hope in the milieu of a large scale global health effort.

"Orbis is a one-of-a-kind convergence of eye health and aviation. I'm grateful to be a part of their mission, and I'm truly honored to accept this award from The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene."

1.8 million people have been left visually impaired by trachoma

Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

NTDs like trachoma continue to affect over 1.5 billion of the world's most impoverished, marginalised people communities. Despite this, they get little attention or coverage.

Ethiopia is the country most affected by trachoma with 44% of the world’s trachoma being found there. This year we are celebrating 20 years of working in Ethiopia.

Since 1998, we have worked across every level of Ethiopia’s health system to make sure people can access the eye care they need, and have been working on trachoma elimination in Southern Ethiopia since 2002.

20 years in Ethiopia logo

Orbis implements WHO's SAFE strategy (encompassing surgery, distributing antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement) in 93 Ethiopian districts. In this time we distributed 44.5 million doses of antibiotics to prevent trachoma infection.

Across twenty-four of the districts where we work, active trachoma infection is now below the official threshold for elimination.

However, there is much more to be done. With your support, our aim is to eliminate this painful disease across all of the Southern regions in Ethiopia.

Help eliminate trachoma today

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