Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex observes uses of ‘tippy taps’ in Malawi. Photo by Aurelie Marrier d’Unienville
An independent review of trachoma elimination programmes, supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (The Trust), has highlighted unprecedented impact with success seen in areas where the trachoma community has faced major challenges to date.
In 2014, The Trust and DFID initiated two aligned and ambitious five year (2014-2019) programmes for the adoption and scale up of the SAFE strategy across nine countries in Africa, with a total budget of 80.5 million. Both programmes are being delivered by ICTC, with Sightsavers acting as the grant manager.
The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative aims to eliminate blinding trachoma in Malawi, Kenya and Uganda and make significant advances towards elimination in Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania while DFID’s programme aims to effectively deliver the SAFE strategy for trachoma elimination in Chad, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. The programmes follow the WHO recommended SAFE strategy for tackling trachoma, which includes:
S – Surgery to correct the position of in-turned eye lashes
A – Antibiotic distribution to treat infection
F – facial hygiene promotion
E – Environmental improvements to reduce reinfection and to prevent transmission
Key highlights from across the SAFE strategy components include:
41% of the total estimated population in need, 132,000 people, received surgery, surpassing program targets.
All countries achieved over 80% coverage in the endemic districts, with 32 million people reached through antibiotic distribution to date.
Significant contribution to the sustaining global elimination goals have been made thanks to facial cleanliness and environmental improvement activities.
ICTC Chair, Serge Resnikoff, welcomed the review:
“It’s a great motivation for ICTC to see the enormous progress we’ve seen in just two years highlighted in this review. The trachoma community is privileged to benefit from a strong global collaboration between all stakeholders and the success we’ve seen so far is thanks to this unique partnership. Congratulations to all involved! Let’s continue to build on this momentum to eliminate trachoma once and for all. The time is now to get this job done.”
The findings from the review will be shared with the wider trachoma and neglected tropical diseases communities, which will contribute to the work of the ICTC and the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020. These trachoma programmes will continue to improve the quality of data, which can be used to support advocacy and attract additional resources to tackle trachoma, and other neglected tropical diseases, at both the national and global level.
To download the summary of the review please visit: http://www.trachomacoalition.org/news-blogs/review-ictc-programs-highlights-significant-results-unprecedented-scale