Gambia eliminates Trachoma

Gambia recently became the second African country to eliminate Trachoma. Trachoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Ghana became the first African country to eliminate Trachoma in 2018.

What is Trachoma?

It is a bacterial eye infection that damages the eye lids. It causes the eye lashes to turn inwards. Trachoma is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases. It leads to irreversible vision losses and blindness if not corrected with surgery.

Trachoma is caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.

Trachoma in Africa

The number of people at risk from the disease decreased by more than 90% since 2000. However, more than forty countries in Africa are still affected by Trachoma.

Success of Gambia

Gambia eliminated Trachoma after four decades of rigorous works by NGOs, health workers and local communities. A network of eye units were created with the help of NGOs. These units identified people with Trachoma. Thousands of heath volunteers were trained to go door-to-door to find people with the disease.

Background

The World Health Organisation launched a roadmap of Global Targets to tackle twenty Neglected Tropical Diseases including Trachoma. The roadmap aims to eliminate all the twenty diseases by 2030.

Trachoma in India

India became free from Trachoma in 2017. According to the National Trachoma Survey Report, the overall prevalence of Trachoma was 0.7% in the country. This is much below the elimination criteria defined by the World Health Organisation.

What causes Trachoma?

Trachoma is caused due to poor environmental and personal hygiene. This mainly occurs when the person faces inadequate access to water and sanitation.

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