The Commonwealth programme followed the World Health Organisation (WHO) treatment strategy for trachoma elimination. This involved using the SAFE strategy, a public health approach to control the spread of trachoma. ‘SAFE’ stands for surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvements.
Sightsavers acted as grant manager of the programme, meaning we allocated the funds according to the needs identified by disease mapping. We also worked alongside local partners and country authorities to implement work in Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, while our partner, The Fred Hollows Foundation, led work in the Pacific and Pakistan.
Over a short period of two years we helped countries to strengthen their health systems, so that the fight against trachoma can continue after this funding. This work included training and collaborating closely with staff, improving the use of data and information by introducing standardised field-based data tools, and working towards the incorporation of trachoma data into district and national health information systems.
Our efforts have helped the countries we work in be better prepared to manage any remaining trachoma cases, and to cope with other NTDs. But as a leading infectious cause of blindness around the world, trachoma remains a priority for the global health community. Sightsavers is continuing its drive towards trachoma elimination through major programmes Accelerate and Ascend.