Sightsavers Works to Eliminate Trachoma from Ghana

A big victory in eye health in the country of Ghana was achieved on June 13 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the country was free of trachoma.


As the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa and the Commonwealth to be rid of the eye disease, Ghana has demonstrated for much of the third world that eliminating trachoma is a possibility. The effort was led by Sightsavers, an international aid organization committed to preventing blindness in developing nations through partnerships and on-site work. In 2000 Sightsavers began working in Ghana in an effort to eliminate the contagious bacterial eye infection known as trachoma. When Sightsavers first began the Ghana initiative, there were an estimated 2.8 million people at risk for developing the disease.


The news of the elimination of trachoma in Ghana gives hope to the estimated 200 million people at risk of trachoma in 41 countries, mostly located in Africa. Sightsavers Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases Simon Bush is proud of the organization’s work in eliminating the disease, however, he cautions that there is much work still to be done throughout the African continent. The organization was able to reach its goal through the work of a vast global alliance working in partnership with local governments, pharmaceutical companies, and communities to combat the spread of the disease. Bush reiterated that there are many other countries so close to also reaching their eliminations goals, and in that vein, the fight must continue.


Trachoma begins as a simple bacterial infection in the eye but it can spread quickly if left untreated. The disease is spread by both flies and human touch and can lead to blindness. Trachoma is so prevalent in the developing world because lack of access to clean water combined with poverty are two of the biggest risk factors of contracting the disease. Women are four times as like to contract trachoma compared to their male counterparts. In addition to the lead work of Sightsavers, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer is also credited with helping in the elimination of trachoma from Ghana. Pfizer donated 3.3 million doses of its Zithromax antibiotic to help treat the disease at its roots.

Medical Breakthroughs With Dr. Saad Saad

Based in New Jersey, Dr. Saad Saad is one of the most innovative pediatric surgeons working today. With over 40 years of experience, he has saved countless lives since he began practicing. Recently, Dr. Saad’s inventions have begun to attract attention from the media.


Dr. Saad has invented two instruments that improve upon existing designs. The first is a catheter that includes an electromagnetic location device. Surgeons must know where all medical implants and catheters are in the body, but finding them can be difficult. With Dr. Saad’s device, the catheter or tube is manufactured with magnetic material in the tip.


Using a specialized device on the outside, medical practitioners are able to locate this material. Prior catheter location techniques required the use of bulky X-ray or MRI devices. By making a more portable location device, Dr. Saad aims to increase efficiency.


The second invention is similarly designed to make surgical procedures simpler. Endoscopes are used to look inside the body. They have cameras fitted to them, but they often fog up or become unclear when they come into contact with fluid. This is a serious shortcoming, because the inside of the body is overwhelmingly liquid.


In addition to fluids like blood, there is also a lot of interstitial fluid, stomach acid, saliva and lymph to deal with. Current technology requires using a separate suction device to clear an area of fluids so the surgeon’s visual is clear. Dr. Saad Saad’s invention combines the endoscope and the suction device. This means time and energy can be saved during the procedure.


Surgeons know that time is of the essence when operating. Anything that can be done to safely shorten the time a procedure takes, or the number of instruments needed, can help improve outcomes. Dr. Saad’s inventions are effective ways to keep complications down. They may even end up saving lives.


Dr. Saad Saad is known for his generous spirit. He takes part in medical missions abroad to operate on impoverished children. Dr. Saad is not afraid to work in dangerous areas like the West Bank. His admires the patients who deal with those conditions every day, in addition to their poor condition. His experiences overseas are one reason that he is such a proponent of making surgery safer and easier. He knows that the less expensive and complicated a procedure is to complete, the more accessible it becomes. Learn more: