|Posted on:||Wednesday, 10th July, 2019|
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced impressive progress towards eliminating trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.
The number of people at risk of trachoma globally has fallen from 1.5 billion in 2002 to just over 142 million in 2019, a reduction of 91%.The number of people requiring surgery for trachomatous trichiasis – the late, blinding stage of trachoma – has dropped from 7.6 million in 2002 to 2.5 million in 2019, a reduction of 68%. This latest data was announced at the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020 (GET2020) meeting on 27th June.
CBM’s Head of Neglected Tropical Diseases Programmes, Nick Burn, welcomed the latest results:
“This remarkable progress shows what we can achieve when Governments, NGOs, drug companies, health workers and communities all work together. At CBM, we’ve been working for decades to tackle trachoma and feel hugely proud of being part of this amazing achievement, thanks to our supporters and dedicated partners on the ground. But we mustn’t forget that the last mile is often the hardest. We’re determined to continue to contribute to the global efforts on trachoma until communities are no longer at risk from this cruel disease”.
Trachoma is an infectious disease that causes the eyelashes to turn inwards, rubbing on the cornea, causing severe pain and eventually blindness, if left untreated. Since 2011, it has been eliminated in eight countries, but remains endemic in 44. CBM is currently working in eight countries to eliminate trachoma which is generally found in the poorest communities where poor sanitation and a lack of access to clean water and healthcare services leave people at greatest risk.
Image: patients being examined and treated for trachoma at CBM's outreach clinic in Ethiopia. ©CBM/Diemer