Trachoma affects people living in remote and rural communities, usually in abject poverty and is one of the most unfair diseases in the world, blinding the people who have the least to start with and making them poorer.
There are still 200 million people at risk of trachoma across the globe, children and women being the most affected. 1.9 million people are blind or visually impaired and 3.2 million people need surgery to avoid blindness because of trachoma.
Since 2011 we have seen huge progress in efforts to strategically target trachoma elimination: growing partnerships have brought in new people, organisations and resources; comprehensive mapping has given us a fuller picture of the global burden of the disease and allowed us to pinpoint exactly where to target programme interventions; public/private partnerships continue to expand to meet the need with pharmaceutical company Pfizer already donating more than 500 million doses of the antibiotic Zithromax®; research and field practices have improved the way we tackle the disease; and health economists have calculated how much it is going to cost.
There’s still a long way to go to reach the goal of global elimination of trachoma, but endemic countries are becoming more and more involved, realising their participation is essential in achieving the 2020 target.
USAID has supported Mozambique’s government to fight trachoma since 2012. Thanks to the efforts over the past year of the ENVISION project, a collaboration between Mozambique’s Ministry of Health, USAID and other international partners including RTI International, 1 million people in Mozambique are no longer at risk of contracting the eye infection.