Trachoma Community Marks World Sight Day With New Tools to Aid in Elimination Quest
As the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) marks World Sight Day on Thursday, we want to note three new tools available to our partners in the fight to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020.
One is 2020 INSight, a global strategic plan released by the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC). The plan not only outlines where we are and where we need to be, but offers specific actions we need to take to achieve elimination of blinding trachoma by 2020.
2020 INSight calls for urgent attention in 14 countries where 80 percent of the trachoma burden lies. If we are to reach our 2020 elimination goal, endemic countries must have a trachoma control program in place by 2015.
Two other tools are online, in the form of websites that provide data from trachoma endemic countries. The Trachoma Atlas, at www.trachomaatlas.com, has prevalence data on publically accessible country maps. The ICTC website, at www.trachomacoalition.org, has maps that show where the WHO-endorsed SAFE strategy is being implemented.
Our hope is that these tools are providing useful information to help sustain implementation efforts and prompt political will for action.
Trachoma is an eye infection that for thousands of years caused many people to go blind across all continents. As the result of development and targeted interventions, trachoma is now limited to an estimated 59 countries, often affecting the poorest populations of the world. Today, more than 2 million people are either blind or suffer from a very painful disability as the result of trachoma. Since 1999, more than 200 million treatments of Zithromax® donated through ITI by Pfizer have been administered in endemic countries.
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