Thanks to its speed and efficiency, the Global Trachoma Mapping Project is adding new countries and districts to its survey list, and the work will continue through 2015. Project epidemiologists are also in the process of working with national programme staff to help countries publish their trachoma data.
As of March 1, 2015, trachoma graders have examined the eyes of 2.1 million people for clinical signs of trachoma in a total of 1,469 districts in 22 countries. Ninety-five percent of the districts were completed using GTMP methods. GTMP is funded by the UK Department for Intern
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (the Trust) Trachoma Initiative has begun work in Tanzania, bringing the number of Commonwealth countries where it is working to eliminate trachoma in Africa to six, (joining Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Uganda). It will also tackle the disease in Commonwealth countries in the Pacific and in Australia.
The Trust will implement the SAFE strategy in each country on a large scale. SAFE stands for surgery, antibiotic distribution, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement. In Tanzania, trichiasis surgery will be provided to all those with advanced stages of the disease in the Lindi, Dodoma, and Arusha regions - covering approximately 26,000 people.
ITI is working closely with the World Health Organization to merge the Zithromax® Application with the Trachoma Evaluation and Monitoring Form (TEMF) to make it easier for national programs to report trachoma data.
The form will be used by all 58 countries in the global trachoma program. The goal is to reduce duplication, streamline formats, and coordinate data flow. Countries use the TEMF to report on implementation of the SAFE strategy, which combines surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environment improvement to eliminate trachoma. Merging the TEMF with the Zithromax® Application means programs can review and edit district names in one place, and the edits will automatically update through the entire form.
ITI Director Paul Emerson met women in Mecha woreda, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia, who had received surgery for trichiasis, the final painful stage of trachoma that can lead to blindness. One of the women, Yitayesh Tilahun, said the operation was like a “second birth” for her. Trichiasis had previously prevented her from working and she was confined to her house. She was forced take her daughter out of school to assist with the household chores. Yitayesh said she thought her life would consist of “poverty, suffering, and death.”
Yitayesh is proud that she can now "farm, cook and look after her family, just like any married woman." Her daughter has been able to return to school. Yitayesh's story is just one of the many that can be told from the tens of thousands of people who have received trichiasis surgery as part of the global trachoma program.
ITI Senior Program Associates Birgit Bolton and Joanna Pritchard visited trachoma programs in Nepal and Mauritania, which are close to reaching their elimination goals. The next step for them is to plan for surveillance to be sure trachoma does not return.
Two leaders of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) attended the Third Meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Region Trachoma Alliance (EMR Alliance) in Bahrain, December 18-19, 2014, to support countries that want to request Zithromax® for 2016 treatments. Dr. Paul Emerson, ITI Director, and PJ Hooper, Deputy Director, briefed countries in attendance about the process and timelines for the Zithromax® application process for new countries.
The EMR Alliance was formed in March 2013 to support control of trachoma in the region, which accounts for 18% of the global burden of blinding trachoma. According to the World Health Organization, 11 of 22 countries are endemic in the region and 41.5 million people in the region live in trachoma endemic areas.
Below you can find every issue of Trachoma Matters, ITI's e-newsletter, dating from its origin in 2007 through the end of 2014. The links lead to a Constant Contact page, but you will not be redirected from this page. After this post of the archives, each new edition of Trachoma Matters will receive its own post in the blog section of trachoma.org.