There are an estimated 8.2 million people living in trachoma endemic areas in Malawi and more than 12,500 people with trichiasis – the final, most painful stage of the disease which, without treatment, will lead to blindness. Trichiasis surgeons in Malawi were performing very few surgeries each year. We need to strengthen their skills, and bring health services to the communities that need them the most, to significantly increase the number of surgeries and eliminate trachoma.
What we’re doing about it
By March 2019, the Trachoma Initiative aims to fully eliminate* trachoma in Malawi. The programme will provide sight-saving surgery for nearly 6,000 people, and we will train 19 surgeons in the high priority districts. Antibiotics will be distributed to 8.2 million people in their local communities. The programme will also ensure that communities are taking the lead in improving access to safe water sources and sanitation, as well as promoting facial cleanliness to prevent transmission of the disease from person to person.
* The ultimate intervention goal for Trichiasis is less than one case per one thousand people in the total population.
Progress so far
Almost 3 million people have been treated with antibiotics, and more than 1,400 people have received surgery so that their eyelashes no longer scratch on their eyes. 16 surgeons have been trained or retrained and certified to perform surgery. 1931 case finders have been trained and mobilised to locate people in need of treatment, which has helped reduce surgeons’ time spent screening patients at outreach camps.