Eradicating Trachoma: Students Raise Funds for Clean Water

wash2Contagious and blinding eye diseases proliferate in millions of rural communities without clean water, effective sanitation, or hygiene tools. Students at the Carpenter School in Park Ridge, Illinois, wanted to help after learning that children in Ethiopia cannot turn on a faucet to wash their hands. Villagers often rely on far-away wells.

Led by teacher Rebecca Keenan, the fifth-grade class investigated and reported on the need for clean water and how UCSF’s Proctor Foundation is working to provide it. Ms. Keenan is a sister of Proctor’s Jeremy Keenan, MD, MPH, principal investigator for a clinical trial of a public health intervention in 68 Ethiopian communities.The Carter Center co-leads the trial, and Catholic Relief Services and others support the work.wash3

Improvements to Save Sight

The WASH intervention – improvements in WAter, Sanitation, and Hygiene – is being added to a program of mass antibiotic distribution. Used together, the strategies aim to halt the epidemic spread of trachoma and the blindness that so often follows, as well as reduce transmission of other infectious diseases. Digging local wells is a key component.