Sudan makes progress toward trachoma elimination goal
Senior Program Associate Birgit Bolton recently traveled to the Al Qadarif state in eastern Sudan to observe a Mass Drug Administration (MDA). Conducted by the Sudan National Trachoma Control Program and The Carter Center, the MDA involved Ministry of Health officials and a team of community health volunteers distributing Zithromax® door-to-door in 76 villages, reaching over 216,000 Sudanese.
Bolton was impressed by “the extraordinary dedication and hard work of everyone involved, from the country coordinators and The Carter Center staff to the team leaders and volunteers—every single person was completely invested in this effort.” As this was the third MDA in three years, the communities were familiar with the program, resulting in 100% compliance in taking the antibiotic to prevent blinding trachoma.
Bolton notes, “Two treatment challenges for Sudan are security and large migrant populations. We can’t treat in areas that are unsafe, even when trachoma is endemic. And, seasonal farmers and cultivators make it difficult to determine how many reside in specific regions and how much Zithromax® is required for a MDA.” However, with the trachoma control program being implemented under the direction of the National Coordinator, Dr. Balgesa E. Elshafie, Sudan is making progress toward its goal of eliminating blinding trachoma by 2015.