Tanzanian government convenes global partners working to eliminate blinding disease across the country

28 July 2016

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Today (27 July 2016), the United Republic of Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (the Trust) will join with partners to discuss joint efforts to eliminate blinding trachoma in Tanzania.

Trachoma is largest infectious cause of blindness in the world. It is estimated that 12.5 million people live at risk of the disease in Tanzania. It is caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis and it affects both children and adults. If left untreated trachoma causes the eye lashes to turn inwards and scratch the outer eye causing extreme pain, and eventually can lead to irreversible blindness. Those with the advanced stages of the disease need surgery to correct their in-turned eyelashes and prevent further damage to the eye.

In reviewing the progress of this important collaboration to date, and next steps required to reach elimination, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, DFID and the Trust will meet with representatives from organisations involved in the elimination of blinding trachoma in Tanzania. Participants will include the Chairperson and members of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control such as Sightsavers and Helen Keller International along with other partners involved in delivering the project on the ground.

Vel Gnanendran, Head of the Department for International Development Tanzania will join Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, and representatives from the Ministry to speak at the event.