Rallying for Trachoma Awareness: London’s Hospitality Scene Joins Orbis on World Toilet Day

This winter, Orbis, a globally recognised eye care charity committed to eradicating avoidable blindness, is harnessing the viral potential of toilet selfies. Kicking off on World Toilet Day (19th November), the charity has partnered with London’s hospitality sector in a creative campaign to combat trachoma, a debilitating eye disease affecting 1.9 million people globally with blindness or impaired vision.

Introducing the #TrachomaToiletSelfie challenge, Orbis invites Londoners to capture a meaningful selfie in an unusual setting – the restroom. Participating venues are transforming their washroom mirrors with interactive selfie stickers that not only reflect images but also ignite a call to action. Each selfie, shared on social media with the campaign’s hashtag, is a step towards raising awareness about trachoma. This preventable eye condition, caused by infection, can lead to blindness but is avoidable through antibiotics, hygiene education, and improved sanitation facilities.

Trachoma remains a risk to over 115 million people worldwide, having been eradicated from most developed nations over fifty years ago. The disease proliferates in areas lacking basic sanitation, posing a significant threat to vision if untreated. Orbis reached a milestone this year, distributing their 100 millionth dose of antibiotics in Ethiopia to curb trachoma’s spread. Yet, the organisation emphasises the ongoing risk of trachoma until global access to clean water and toilets becomes a norm rather than a privilege.

This innovative campaign aims to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6, targeting universal sanitation and hygiene by 2030 – a timeline that aligns with the World Health Organisation’s goal for global trachoma elimination.

Through the #TrachomaToiletSelfie initiative, Londoners can spotlight the plight of 64 million Ethiopians at risk of trachoma, a disease exacerbated by inadequate sanitation. Orbis’s challenge, especially relevant in bathrooms where women and girls globally face disproportionate access, seeks to highlight their increased vulnerability to trachoma.

Orbis’s commitment extends beyond awareness; their work involves collaborating with local partners for hygiene and eye care education, training health workers for trachoma identification and treatment referrals, and facilitating surgeries. They also partner with organisations dedicated to installing clean water facilities and building essential toilets.

On World Toilet Day, a day dedicated to addressing global sanitation issues, Orbis underscores that change can begin with a simple act – a selfie.

London, get ready to snap, share, and support the fight against trachoma!

Nominate a Friend! This campaign extends beyond a single click. Participants are urged to tag three friends, leveraging the power of social media to amplify the message.

Picturing a World Without Trachoma Orbis’s vision for a trachoma-free world by 2030 is the heart of this campaign. Join in the #TrachomaToiletSelfie challenge and be part of making this vision a reality.

For further details on the campaign, Orbis’s efforts, and participation guidelines, visit https://gbr.orbis.org/en/trachoma-toilet-selfie

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