Ghana has made history as the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate the disease and joins Cambodia, Laos, Mexico, Morocco, Oman and Nepal in this achievement. With celebrations continuing, at Sightsavers we’re reflecting on our involvement in this milestone, what we’ve learned from the experience and the work that lies ahead.
Sightsavers was part of group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that founded the Ghana Trachoma Programme, drafting the first strategic plan to control trachoma in coordination with the National Eye Health Programme. Our support focused on training ophthalmic nurses, many of whom later became surgeons for the trachoma programme.
We came in stronger in 2010 to support programme implementation: promoting house-to-house screening to find the final people who needed surgery or antibiotic treatment, conducting the pre-validation surveillance survey in all previously known endemic districts, and helping to develop the trachoma elimination dossier – a comprehensive template that must be submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) to validate that a country has reached its elimination targets.
We followed a team of eye care workers as they raced through villages to find any remaining patients: they needed to treat them all to eliminate the disease.Read the story