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