Latest progress shows Trust Trachoma Initiative brings trachoma elimination ever closer
“My only message to the Queen is thank you. I am now able to see and do many more things.”
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust’s Trachoma Initiative has delivered outstanding results since the programme started in 2014, and latest progress reports show that millions of people have received treatment for the disease.
The aim of the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative is to eliminate blinding trachoma in Malawi, Uganda and Kenya by 2019, to make significant advances in Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania, and to help map the disease in Zambia to establish the prevalence of the disease. The project is using a public health strategy called SAFE – surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements – which is endorsed by the World Health Organization.
The latest results of the Trachoma Initiative show that, since it began in 2014, more than 170 surgeons have been trained to deliver Trachoma Trichiasis (TT) surgeries (to correct in-turned eyelashes and prevent blindness), and over 14,000 case finders have been trained to help identify people living with trachoma within communities. Malawi, Uganda and Kenya have adapted their national sanitation guidelines to include trachoma, and so far more than 20 in 78 districts achieved their goals for eliminating the disease.
Over 10.4 million people have been treated with antibiotics (to prevent the initial infection) at least once and in the last six months alone, over 2.6 million antibiotic treatments were distributed and 10,900 cases of trachoma were managed.
Lovisa from Uganda has recently had TT surgery after she was encouraged by friends in her community about how straightforward it is to have sight-saving surgery. After initial trepidation, people now trust that surgery will be life-changing, as patients who have received treatment act as the best advocates in communities.
After having the surgery Lovisa said “My only message to The Queen is thank you. I am now able to see and do many more things.”