The SAFE strategy - trachoma prevention and treatment

ICTC is committed to implementing the WHO-endorsed SAFE strategy, which consists of multiple interventions to target various routes of transmission, as well as treating infection and its disabling effects. The strategy consists of:

  • Surgery to correct trachomatous trichiasis
  • Antibiotics for C. trachomatis infection
  • Facial cleanliness to reduce transmission
  • Environmental improvement to reduce risk of transmission and infection 

Through the work of national governments, implementing partners and a host of agencies (governmental and non-governmental) at the national and local levels, the implementation of the SAFE strategy has led to measurable results in the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem and improved quality of life for millions of people.

For example:

  • Cambodia, China, The Gambia, Ghana, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman have all been validated by WHO for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem
  • The number of people at risk of trachoma has reduced from 325 million in 2011 to 136.9 million people in 2020
  • More than 1.46 million surgeries to treat trachomatous trichiasis have been performed since 2011 

The impact of the SAFE strategy reaches far beyond the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem. The SAFE strategy addresses broader poverty and development issues, resulting in improved quality of life for millions of people in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Reducing trachoma and blindness caused by trachoma breaks a cycle of poverty by preserving the ability of individuals to work and provide for their families, as well as increasing children’s school attendance.