Nigeria has the second highest number of people with trachoma in the world, and highest in the Commonwealth. The most recent statistics suggest that over 20 million people currently need treatment for this potentially blinding and infectious condition in the country and over 135,000 people need their trichiasis managed.
What we’re doing about it
The Initiative aims to make major progress towards elimination in Nigeria by the end of 2019.
The Trachoma Initiative began working in Nigeria by delivering pain-relieving and potentially sight-saving surgery to people with trichiasis in the northern state of Katsina. In summer 2017, we expanded our work in the country to reach people in a further four states; Yobe, Bauch, Kaduna and Sokoto.
Our priority in Nigeria has been to provide surgery to people who are at risk of permanent blindness from trachoma. In Katsina state alone, we’re aiming to manage the trichiasis (the advanced stages of trachoma) of approximately 8,500 people with in doing so, free people from the pain and poverty linked to trachoma.
We’re working to strengthen the country’s health system for the long-term by equipping a team of national trainers who can in turn train surgeons from endemic districts to perform trichiasis surgery. Health workers in local communities are also receiving tools and training to raise awareness about the surgical services available and assist those in need of treatment.
Progress so far
We’ve provided 35 sessions to train, retrain and certify trachoma surgeons who have now operated on more than 4,800 people to ease pain and prevent further vision loss. We have trained more than 10,000 case finders to locate people in need of treatment, helping to reduce the time surgeons spend screening patients at outreach camps.
More than 1.9 million people have been treated with antibiotics and a mapping exercise has been carried out across 32 local government areas to identify where further support is required to stop the spread of trachoma.
In April 2018, The Trust was delighted to welcome a boost to trachoma elimination efforts in Nigeria with an announcement made by the UK government’s Secretary of State for International Development to support the elimination of trachoma across the Commonwealth. In addition to supporting the programme to expand in Nigeria, the new fund will increase trachoma elimination efforts in Kenya, Kiribati, Nauru, Pakistan, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Tonga and Vanuatu. It will also support Papua New Guinea to develop its first full Trachoma Action Plan.