Trachoma is one of the world’s oldest eye diseases and the largest cause of infectious blindness. It’s a contagious eye disease where there is a roughening of the inner surface of the eyelid. This disease is very painful, as it scratches away at the outer surface of the cornea, eventually leading to blindness. If the condition happens frequently enough or is left untreated, the eyelids could eventually turn inward, causing permanent blindness.
The disease is more prevalent in poverty stricken regions due to the lack of clean water and proper sanitation. Trachoma is still affecting children’s ability to learn and also affecting the lives of those that are unable to work and make a living to support their families, although it happens to be a disease that is extremely treatable and preventable. Girls in Africa even wear tweezers to pull out their eyelashes for temporarily relief, only to have them grow back more vicious that the first time.
Thankfully, Sightsaver’s has joined collaborative forces with other International non-governmental Organizations, and members of the International Coalition for Trachoma control to create projects to help to fight back against this debilitating disease and ultimately eliminate the disease as a public health problem in coming time.
Their joint efforts have not gone unrewarded either, as in 2016, the Country of Morocco was able to announce that the disease had ended in their region. A year later, Mexico, Cambodia, and Laos also became free of trachoma cases. There are six other countries that are well on their way to being able to say they, too, are free of the disease, and one of these happen to be Ghana. Ghana is close to being the only commonwealth, sub-Saharan African country to say they have eliminated the disease, which a great accomplishment in and of itself.
The ability to obtain and provide the resources for higher quality data has played major role in bringing about the diseases demise. National health ministries are now able to more accurately track and collect high quality data and transmit it faster than ever before. With that being said, health ministries are now able to analyze and apply results faster; in even the most remote of areas.
With the continued efforts of Sightsavers and their partners across the world, countries that have once been plagued by trachoma are on the verge of being able to commit it to history, eliminating the disease for good.