Before the Trachoma Initiative started, 8 million people in Malawi were at risk of losing their sight from trachoma. Thousands of people in the country had the advanced and sight-threatening form of trachoma (trichiasis) and urgently needed surgical treatment. Now in 2018, Malawi is free from this painful, blinding disease and no one need go blind due to the disease ensuing they are able to participate fully in society, work and support themselves and their families.
What we’re doing about it
Through the Initiative, over 8 million people have been treated with antibiotics, and more than 4,870 people have received surgery to ease their pain and stop further vision loss.
We’re working to strengthen the skills of healthcare professionals, and bring health services to the communities that need them the most. We’ve trained and mobilised 12,524 case finders to locate people in need of treatment and reduce the time surgeons’ need to spend screening patients at outreach camps. We have provided 16 surgical training sessions in the country, helping to train, retrain and certify healthcare professionals.
The Initiative has supported the installation of 1,617 hand and face washing stations at 147 schools to help stop the spread of the disease.
The progress that has been made in Malawi over the last four years is an example of what can be achieved when communities and different agencies work together to reach a shared vision.
Progress so far
We are delighted that Malawi has reached the elimination threshold for trachoma (the active infection) and trichiasis, the advanced form of trachoma, in districts where it was once endemic. In order to reach full elimination Malawi needs to demonstrate that the elimination prevalence thresholds have been sustained for a two-year period – known as the surveillance period.
The Trust is working with partners and the Ministry of Health to ensure the country’s health systems are able to sustain trachoma elimination once our programme comes to an end, and then submit their elimination dossier to WHO for validation.