With support from the UK government, a consortium of NGOs and academic institutions, including Sightsavers, the Fred Hollows Foundation, the International Trachoma Initiative and Light for the World among others, have been begun a global survery to map trachoma in over 30 countries.
The first survey was carried out in Oromia, in south west Ethiopia where 22 million people live in suspected endemic areas. Survey teams record the availability of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in each randomly sampled community as well as presence of trachomatous infection in children and in-turned eyelashes (trichiasis) in those who are 15 years and older. For the first time in a global health survey of this scale, this data is captured using smartphones. All districts in Oromia will be mapped in the coming months and results uploaded to the Global Atlas of Trachoma website, an open-access resource on the geographical distribution of trachoma.
Dr Danny Haddad, Director of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) who, together with The Fred Hollows Foundation, are supporting Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health to deliver the program in Ethiopia commented: “It is exciting to be beginning this global survey in Ethiopia. Blinding trachoma has a devastating personal and economic impact on people living in some of the world’s poorest countries. By working with a group of NGOs with trachoma expertise, the consortium is bringing together the best available resources for planning, implementation and research to achieve maximum impact with our mapping.