Trust’s Trachoma Initiative in Uganda expands to 14 new districts

12 July 2017

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Celebrations recently took place in Uganda to mark the significant progress made towards eliminating blinding trachoma.

At ‘The Final Push: Closing the gap to reach national elimination of trachoma in Uganda’ event Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust announced the expansion of the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative into 14 new districts across Uganda, with the support of Lions Clubs International Foundation.

A single man walking on a path with trees either side. Above him hangs The Final Push banner, which marks the celebratory event in Uganda.

The expansion aims to maintain momentum towards eliminating blinding trachoma entirely in the country, where an estimated 10 million people are currently at risk of developing the painful disease.

Dr Astrid Bonfield said: “We are proud to be working with the Ministry of Health and our remarkable partners towards the elimination of the disease across the country by 2019.”

A photo of Astrid standing and talking with a microphone at the event in Uganda.

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE speaking at the event in Uganda.

In the morning, partners from around the world visited Dokolo Health Center IV to speak to patients and see surgeons and health officials evaluating patients, both pre and post-surgery.

TT Surgeon examining patients before surgery at Dokolo Health Centre, Uganda

Later, the visitors, including guest of honour Dr Charles Olaro, who is the Director of Health Services – Clinical at Uganda’s Ministry of Health, attended the celebratory event held in the playground of Angwecibange Primary School. The visitors were welcomed by local officials and a performance by the school children.

Many female school children are singing and dancing, wearing their blue school uniforms, at the event in Uganda,

Dr Olaro thanked donors for their continued support towards eliminating trachoma and other neglected tropical diseases. He also called on community members to promote hygienic practices in order to reduce the risk of transmission of trachoma in their communities, and presented newly trained Trachomatous Trichiasis (TT) surgeons with their certificates of qualification.

Dr Olaro is shaking hands with a OCO and presenting him with a certificate outside, in Uganda.

Trachomatous Trichiasis surgeons receiving their certificates from Dr Charles Olaro.

The current Chairman of the Steering Committee of Lions of Africa, Dr Manoj Shah, also attended the event and pledged continued support of Lions Clubs International to the trachoma initiative.

Dr Manoj Shah stands with four other people. He is speaking into a microphone at the event.

Dr Manoj Shah speaking at the event.

Dr Dean Sienko, Vice President of Health Programs at The Carter Center, which coordinates the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative in Uganda, closed with a quote from President Carter: “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”

Dr Caroline Harper, CEO of Trust partner, Sightsavers, watching a TT surgery at Dokolo Health Center IV, Uganda.

Dr Caroline Harper, CEO of Trust partner, Sightsavers, watching a TT surgery at Dokolo Health Center IV, Uganda.