Launch of Trachoma Initiative to eliminate trachoma


On 16th October 2014 CBM along with some partners and the Malawian government launched a new Trachoma Initiative and committed to eradicating this debilitating disease in Malawi in the coming five years.

Launch of the Trachoma Initiative

Last week the Malawian government, with the support of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust launched a five-year initiative for the elimination of blinding trachoma in the country by 2019. The members of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC), chaired by CBM’s Senior Advisor for Neglected Tropical Diseases - Prof. K.H. Martin Kollmann, will work closely with the Malawi Ministry of Health, the Trust and partners to eradicate this debilitating disease. 

By 2019 the Trachoma Initiative aims to:

  • Target 17 districts
  • Operate on over 5,900 people affected by advanced trachoma
  • Distribute antibiotic treatment to over 8 million people
  • Improve messages on good hygiene and sanitation practices as well as community health
  • Provide better access to safe water and sanitation by working at the local, national and global level

This Initiative was formally launched in Kenya in early October 2014. Between 2014 and 2019, the Trachoma Initiative plans to eliminate blinding trachoma as a public health problem in Kenya and Malawi and make significant advances towards elimination in Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda.  CBM will be an implementing partner of the Trachoma Initiative in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda.

It is extremely exciting to launch this ambitious trachoma programme. Blinding trachoma has a devastating personal and economic impact on people affected and their families. The ICTC is bringing together vast experience and the best available resources to support national programmes to make this ancient disease history.
Professor K.H. Martin Kollmann

What is trachoma?

Trachoma is a Neglected Tropical Disease and the leading cause of global infectious blindness. Globally about 21 million people, primarily in Africa, are affected by trachoma. The WHO estimates it is responsible for the visual impairment of about 2.2 million people, of who 1.2 million are irreversibly blind.

Currently 9.5 million people affected by trachoma are living in Malawi. The disease slowly and painfully robs people of their sight, as repeated infection turns eyelashes inwards, scraping the cornea and eventually causing irreversible blindness. Women, traditionally the caretakers of the home, are almost twice as likely as men to developing blinding trachoma.

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