TRACHOMA is an easily-preventable, easily-treatable disease that affects over a hundred million people in mainly developing countries around the world. First News travelled to Kenya with Sightsavers, to see how they’re educating people about the disease, and how they’re getting rid of it for good.
One of the students we met was 12-year-old Charles, chairman of the school’s Health Club – a club formed with the help of the money raised by Sightsavers. Charles is passionate about Health Club, and it’s helped to make a real difference in his life.
Health Club is made up of around 50 students, who are taught in their own separate lessons about how to keep their bodies and their environment clean. What they learn gets passed along to their friends and families outside of Health Club, which is especially important, because diseases like trachoma are spread easily around those close communities.
We visited Charles’ homestead, a few minutes’ walk from his school, and met his grandmother Lucy, who told us what Charles had taught her about keeping clean.
“He helped to build our tap”, Lucy said. “I’m very proud of him.”
Samson, Charles’ grandfather, lost his mother last year. Before she passed away, she had successful surgery to turn her eyelids back around the right way, after repeated trachoma infections had caused them to turn inwards.
Charles said that when his great grandmother had trachoma she was in a lot of pain and couldn’t do anything for herself, or help to fetch water for her family. But, soon after her operation, she was happier and healthier and able to help her family again. “After her operation, she was much better”, Charles told us. “It made me feel as happy as a king.”