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The global burden

Boy leading blind man in Ethiopia

Trachoma is believed to be endemic in 59 countries, primarily in the poorest communities in the developing world.

Nearly 110 million people live in areas where trachoma is confirmed to be endemic, and another 210 million live in districts where trachoma is suspected but no data are available to guide public health interventions.

Trachoma can destroy the economic well-being of entire communities, keeping families shackled within a cycle of poverty as the disease and its long-term effects pass from one generation to the next.

Globally, trachoma results in an estimated US $2.9 billion in lost productivity per year. Blindness from trachoma strikes adults in their prime years, hindering their ability to care for themselves and their families.

An estimated 4.6 million have advanced trachoma, called trichiasis, and are at immediate risk of going blind.

Women, traditionally the caretakers of the home, are twice as likely as men to have trichiasis. When a woman can no longer perform vital activities for her household, an older daughter is often removed from school to assume her mother’s duties, thus losing her opportunity for a formal education.

The poorest of the poor suffer most from trachoma, especially in areas that have limited access to water and sanitation. Africa is the most affected continent.