Trust’s trachoma elimination programme makes significant progress

25 June 2017

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Now in its third year, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust's Trachoma Initiative has continued to make extensive progress.

The programme is now aiming to reach the trachoma elimination thresholds in Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia by 2019. This means that there is less than one person per thousand in the whole population who has not received treatment for the advanced stage of the disease – which is crucial in preventing blindness.  The programme has also made significant advances towards elimination in Nigeria and Tanzania.

Across the countries, a total of 41 districts have now reached the elimination threshold for trachoma trichiasis (TT).  Elimination of TT within the districts means each area is now scaling down its outreach programmes and instead managing new and recurrent cases at local health centres.

Trachoma is a painful infection that after repeated episodes can cause the eyelashes to turn inwards and scrape against the eye. If left untreated, this last stage can cause irreversible blindness.

In the past year, almost 19,400 cases of the advanced stage of TT were managed, achieving 96 per cent of the Trust’s annual target. What’s more, almost 3.5 million antibiotic treatments were distributed in seven districts, helping to stop the spread of the trachoma infection.

The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative: the programme

Image showing SAFE acronym: surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, environmental improvements.

Complementing the seven national programmes, the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative continues to make a huge contribution to trachoma elimination programmes globally by providing support and, in some cases, leading innovation and learning through initiatives such as:

  • developing TT-only survey methodology that is now widely used
  • developing the TT Patient Tracking app
  • sharing information about preferred practices, including how to work in areas with very few TT cases left to manage, and handing over a programme to the local health authorities when the TT elimination threshold has been achieved.