Over 4 million people in Tanzania are currently at risk of going blind needlessly due to trachoma.
The Trachoma Initiative started working in Tanzania in 2015. It is providing surgery to people with trichiasis (the advanced stages of trachoma) in three regions: Arusha, Dodoma and Lindi. The UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) is also working to eliminate trachoma in Tanzania with its SAFE programme in three further regions. Together the Trachoma Initiative and the DFID SAFE Programme are working together to tackle the disease across the Tanzania.
What we’re doing about it
The Initiative is training surgeons to correct the in-turned eyelashes of people with trichiasis, preventing further vision loss and removing the pain. More than 8,000 people will benefit from trichiasis surgery across three regions in Tanzania and health workers in local communities will receive tools and training to raise awareness about the surgical services available and assist those in need of treatment.
Progress so far
Since we started work in Tanzania in 2015, we have delivered 22 sessions to train, retrain and certify surgeons to perform pain-relieving and sight-saving surgery. More than 3,400 case finders have been trained to locate people in need of treatment, which has helped reduce surgeons’ time spent screening patients at outreach camps. So far, we have provided surgery for more than 6,150 people with trichiasis – the painful and potentially blinding stages of the disease.
In April 2018, The Trust was delighted to welcome a boost to trachoma elimination efforts in Tanzania with an announcement made by the UK government’s Secretary of State for International Development to eliminate trachoma in the Commonwealth. As well as Tanzania, the new fund will also tackle trachoma in Kenya, Kiribati, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. It will also support Papua New Guinea to develop its first full Trachoma Action Plan.