Our work is inspired by the pioneering efforts of the late Fred Hollows. Fred worked tirelessly to eliminate avoidable blindness and ensure practical, evidence-based solutions to common eye care problems were implemented where and when they were needed. Fred was also a prolific researcher and author of several studies on eye disease, eye health services and Aboriginal health.
Fred was especially passionate about eliminating trachoma – a painful and devastating infection that can lead to blindness and continues to plague individuals, families and communities in many parts of the world. Fred was the first to survey trachoma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia and his innovative approach to reducing the cost of intra-ocular lenses made cataract treatment accessible to people in low- and middle-income countries around the wold.
Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness with 157.7 million people living in areas where they are at high risk of developing the disease. We are committed to the global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem, and through the efforts of a global coalition, we believe trachoma will be eliminated as a public health problem in the next decade.
Trachoma Research and Innovation at The Fred Hollows Foundation
We continue Fred’s legacy by investing in high-impact research and innovation, that builds a strong evidence base, drives better performance in our programs, furthers the global thinking on ending avoidable blindness, and supports our advocacy and policy efforts. Read more about our Research and Innovation Strategy.
One of our key strategic focus areas is the global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem. Research and innovation are critical as we approach global elimination, in order to find solutions to emerging ‘end game’ challenges. Our trachoma research and innovation objective for the coming five year term is to discover, design, and test new and better ways to address trachoma end game challenges. This booklet provides more information about these efforts and the specific research and innovation initiatives we are implementing to target trachoma. Each initiative specifies the particular challenges we seek to contribute solutions towards, and the approach we intend to take:
- INITIATIVE 1 - Synthesise, share and use emerging and existing evidence on trachoma: to consolidate what we know works to eliminate trachoma in different settings, and make this information readily available to program implementers and decision makers around the world.
- INITIATIVE 2 – Innovate to improve delivery of trichiasis surgery: to address trichiasis end game challenges. In particular we seek solutions to the emerging challenge of increasing numbers of people developing trichiasis again, even after surgery. We are also seeking better ways to track down the remaining people needing surgery in low prevalence settings.
- INITIATIVE 3 – Innovate to improve hygiene promotion and environmental health: to improve the effectiveness of facial cleanliness (F) and environmental improvement (E) interventions. In particular we seek to understand more precisely how trachoma is transmitted, so that we can develop more targeted interventions to prevent spread of the disease. We will also strengthen planning guidelines so that global programs are more robust and more consistently use of evidence and theory, and pilot test innovative new intervention strategies.
- INITIATIVE 4 – Innovate to improve trachoma surveillance and response systems: Our fourth and final initiative is focused on identifying effective approaches to trachoma surveillance and response. In particular we seek to develop and test new approaches to planning and implementing surveillance and response systems, and pilot test systems in different settings.
We will achieve our trachoma research and innovation objective by working closely with partners on the ground, leading research institutes around the world, innovators, and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC).
To find out more about our trachoma research and innovation work, contact [email protected]