Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme gets US$36.5 million funding boost to banish trachoma

March 2024

Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme has received US$36.5 million of extra funding to help speed up the elimination of trachoma in Africa.

Originally designed to run from 2018-2023, the Accelerate programme aimed to support several African countries to eliminate or work towards eliminating trachoma, which is a painful and potentially blinding neglected tropical disease that affects millions of people globally.

The programme, part of the Audacious Project, initially received US$100 million from various international donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, UK aid and Virgin Unite. The Helmsley Charitable Trust joins as a new donor in 2024.

The additional funding will enable Sightsavers to expand and extend the Accelerate programme until 2027. It originally aimed to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem in 12 African countries and make significant progress in Ethiopia and Nigeria. With the extension, the programme will also cover Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia.

Southern Africa and more than 60% of East and West Africa – as well as Cameroon, the first country in central Africa – will now be able to eliminate trachoma. Sightsavers is aiming to support 17 countries to reach the milestone, with 15 countries hoping to be validated by the World Health Organization by 2027.

In 2023, the Accelerate programme supported Benin to eliminate trachoma. Through collaboration with health ministries in the target countries, it has already delivered more than 53 million treatments. As a result, 15 million fewer people are at risk of contracting the blinding disease.

A close-up of a woman having her eyes checked for trachoma.

What is trachoma?

Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, and is part of a group of conditions known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Learn about trachoma

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