ITI is a program of The Task Force for Global Health.
The Viet Nam trachoma control program started in 1957 with the establishment of the National Institute of Trachoma, now known as the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (NIO). At that time, trachoma was a leading cause of blindness, with national prevalence of active trachoma and trichiasis estimated at 60% and 6.4%, respectively. An intensive nationwide program was launched and included surgery campaigns, antibiotic treatment with tetracycline eye ointments, strong health and hygiene education and social mobilization. Districts and communes organized “Trichiasis Elimination Committees”. By 1975 the national prevalence of active trachoma was estimated at 17.5%.
Trachoma control activities were limited following national reunification in 1976, when national priorities shifted to life-threatening diseases and vaccination programs in the postwar recovery period. Progress continued, however, and by 1995 active trachoma and trichiasis prevalence were estimated to be 7.1% and 1.2%, respectively.
In 1999 Viet Nam endorsed the WHO Vision 2020 declaration and reactivated the National Trachoma Control Project, with support from ITI, HKI, FHF and the newly established Steering Committee for Blindness Prevention. The Ministry of Health set the goal of eliminating blinding trachoma in Viet Nam by 2010 and launched SAFE implementation in 24 districts and 15 provinces, with distributions of donated Zithromax® from 2001 – 2007. Survey results in 2006 showed active trachoma prevalence below 5% in all 15 provinces. Trichiasis prevalence was estimated to exceed 1% in at least three provinces, and surgery became the primary focus of the program.
CURRENT IMPLEMENTATION STATUS
In 2014, to assist in assessing progress towards elimination, USAID collaborated with the NIO to survey 24 districts thought to have previously been endemic. One cluster of Yen Minh district, Lung Ho commune, had usually high TF prevalence. Additional investigations of clinical signs and C. trachomatis DNA in Lung Ho in 2015 and 2016 indicated active disease warranting control.
Zithromax® Shipments by Year