The Fred Hollows Foundation has marked its 19th anniversary by launching a video on YouTube aimed at inspiring global action on trachoma - a disease which currently blinds one person every 15 minutes. 

The short campaign video says that although trachoma is a disease that impacts an estimated 100 million people in around 57 countries, it is preventable and treatable through a strategy known as SAFE. The strategy combines surgical intervention, antibiotics, face cleaning and environmental change to effectively eliminate the disease from entire populations.

The Foundation's CEO, Brian Doolan, said that the release of the video calling for action on trachoma  is appropriate given Professor Fred Hollows' dedication to addressing the disease, particularly here in Australia.

"Fred became known to many people in Australia through his leadership of the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program  in the 1970s. So it's fitting that on the birthday of The Foundation he started 19 years ago, we launch something that calls for action to end this horrendous disease," says Doolan.

"Anniversaries like today are an appropriate time to reflect on everything that we've achieved and all the people we've saved from a lifetime of blindness, but if Fred were alive he wouldn't let us celebrate for long."

"Fred would say that it's bloody unacceptable that trachoma still exists when we know how to prevent and treat it. He'd say it's time to roll up our sleeves and get the job done."

The Fred Hollows Foundation is a member of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control bringing together eye health organisations from across the world to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020.

The video can be viewed on The Foundation's YouTube channel.

Read about The Foundation's trachoma work in Kenya.