Battling Trachoma in Yemen

A young 7 year old boy holds out his hand, where there is a pill in his palm.

Seven year old Binafwa receives tablets during an MDA drive at an outreach campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
© CBM/ Bugbee

A mass drug administration (MDA) to fight trachoma, which is supported by CBM and Sightsavers is due to recommence in May 2021.

The distribution of antibiotics is going to take place in the district of Far Al Udayn in the lbb governorate in Yemen. In addition, 250 surgeries will be performed to combat trachomatous trichiasis which left untreated can lead to permanent blindness. 

This project was first launched in 2018 and significant progress was made then, but the follow-up work that was due to take place in 2019 was delayed due to the civil war in Yemen. The global COVID-19 pandemic caused further delays in 2020. Now, even though the situation in the country remains challenging, this vital work is about to resume. ​

Community workers will go door to door, covering the entire population of the district to administer the MDA. Children are measured to ascertain how much of the drug they should be given to ensure they do not succumb to the condition.

People living in countries torn by conflict are even more vulnerable to missing out on health care. In addition, they are often forced to live in places with inadequate water supplies and poor sanitation, conditions that help trachoma thrive. Trachoma is easily treatable, but what is not so easy is setting up systems of care that are accessible to those who really need them. It is heartening to see that this project is now going ahead again thanks to the tenacity of individuals working on the ground and the support of WHO, the Yemen Health Ministry, Sightsavers, CBM and other NGOs.
Dr. Babar Qureshi, Director Inclusive Eye Health and NTDs at CBM.

What is trachoma?

Trachoma is one of the five Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) - primarily parasitic, bacterial, or viral infections that thrive amongst the poorest and most marginalized people, families and communities. They are spread by human contact, insects, contaminated water, and soil infested with the eggs or larvae of worms.

Trachoma is a bacterial eye disease and the leading cause of global blindness due to infection. 137 million people live in trachoma endemic areas and are at risk of trachoma blindness. It is responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9 million people, and causes about 1.4% of all blindness worldwide.

Know more about our NTD work

World NTD Day 2021 was celebrated on 30 January. Every year on this Day, we celebrate hard-earned progress and take action to #EndtheNeglect and #BeatNTDs.

Read our 2020 annual NTD Report that outlines significant progress made towards the goal of eliminating these avoidable diseases.