Foundation treats 7.6 million people for trachoma in 2012

In 2012, The Fred Hollows Foundation helped treat over 7.6 million people with trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.

One person blinded by trachoma every 15 minutes
Treatment delivered in 20 countries last year alone
New Sightsavers partnership fast tracks surgery and antibiotics to Africa

The Foundation directly implemented trachoma elimination programs in Australia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Vietnam.

In addition, treatments were delivered in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia through The Fast Track Initiative for Trachoma, a partnership with UK-based Sightsavers.

“Fred Hollows first came to Australia’s attention through his trachoma work and we continue his campaign with our resolve to eliminate trachoma worldwide,” said The Foundation’s CEO Brian Doolan.

“In 2012, working with out partners, we trained surgeons, upgraded health facilities, purchased surgical equipment and supported essential surgeries and programs that benefited 7.6 million people.

“This amazing result tells me we can achieve great things with our partners over the coming years. Our focus now is on delivering treatment where it is urgently needed in 2013.”

Accounting for about four per cent of all avoidable blindness, trachoma is a chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva, and most common in poorer rural areas of Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East. Australia is the only developed country where trachoma still exists, almost exclusively within the Indigenous population.

It is important to reduce the infection and its transmission with surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental change, which is known as the S.A.F.E. strategy, developed by the World Health Organization.

Without treatment, scarring and cloudiness of the cornea rapidly leads to blindness. Blindness from trachoma is almost impossible to reverse.
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