One example is Hadiza Ibrahim, who lives in the state of Zamfara in the north-west of Nigeria and received antibiotics to treat trachoma. Hadiza says: “I had blurred vision and I felt a sensation in my eyes, as if I had sand in my eyes. I used to really rub them – I was shedding tears and they used to produce some discharge. It felt like this for two years.
“I used to be labourer, processing the harvest and helping to process maize, corn, millet and beans. I used to do all that in the fields. That is why I wanted to have really good vision, so I could do all these things.
“When I took the medication I felt good. I had better vision, my eyesight has improved. I feel good now, I feel life is sweet – I feel more relaxed and happier.”
WHO’s announcement highlights some of the significant progress that has been made to eliminate trachoma, yet there is still more work to be done. Some 190 million people worldwide continue to be at risk of the infectious disease and it is currently a public health problem in 42 countries.
Sightsavers and partners urgently need the support of donors and endemic-country governments to commit to additional funding to help eliminate trachoma – and in doing so, enhance the health, quality of life and future wellbeing of millions of people.
If you would like to support our trachoma work, see our fundraising pages to find out how you can get involved.