Chad is one of the countries that implements the SAFE strategy, a public health approach endorsed by the World Health Organization that aims to control the spread of trachoma.
The SAFE acronym describes the four methods used to control the disease.
- Surgery: to stop eyelashes from rubbing against the eyeball and helping to halt the cycle of repeated infection that can lead to blindness.
- Antibiotics: medication called Zithromax® is used to treat the trachoma infection and reduce the spread of the disease. The treatment is usually repeated annually for three or more years.
- Facial cleanliness: teaching local communities the importance of face washing, to prevent the infection being spread through contact with an infected person’s eyes or nose.
- Environmental improvements: to improve access to water and basic sanitation to reduce exposure and re-infection, and eliminate the conditions in which flies breed.
Sightsavers is leading a five-year SAFE programme in Chad on behalf of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control, funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development.