The Fred Hollows Foundation is playing a critical role in the elimination of trachoma by supporting a global survey to identify where people are living at risk from this blinding disease.
The UK government has taken the lead in fast-tracking the elimination of blinding trachoma by providing £10.6 million to a consortium of international NGOs, which includes The Foundation.
Sightsavers, a UK-based partner organisation of The Foundation, will administer the funds that will be used to map the prevalence of trachoma in more than a thousand districts in 30 countries around the world.
The Foundation will be surveying about a quarter of these currently un-mapped districts, focusing particularly on Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa, which has the highest prevalence of trachoma and avoidable blindness in the world.
The survey will allow for:
- Millions of people living in suspected endemic countries to be surveyed by March 2015
- Up to 1,100 local surveyors and analysts to be trained to carry out disease mapping
- A mobile application to be developed to accurately record mapping data
- Open access to disease maps to be made available via www.trachomaatlas.org
Trachoma is a chronic inflammation of the external lining tissue of the eye and eyelids and is often prevalent amongst the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. The disease can be spread through poor hygiene conditions and is one of the more painful ways to go blind.
The Foundation, as part of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
, and together with the World Health Organisation has resolved to eliminate trachoma worldwide by 2020 through treatment already proven to be successful in some countries.
To achieve this goal, the locations of the disease must be identified over the next three years; mapping is the critical first step in identifying those most at risk from the disease and ensuring they receive the right treatment.