The Global Trachoma Mapping Project

The GTMP, which ended in 2016, was the largest infectious disease survey ever undertaken at the time, helping to pinpoint the world’s trachoma-endemic areas.

close up of hands holding a tube of ointment which is used for trachoma infections.

The Global Trachoma Mapping Project, launched in December 2012 and completed in January 2016, saw surveyors collect data from 2.6 million people in 29 countries using Android smartphones. On average, one person was examined every 40 seconds.

The £10.6 million project to map trachoma was funded by the UK government and led by Sightsavers, with co-funding of approximately £6 million provided by USAID. This groundbreaking collaboration was a partnership of more than 53 organisations, including 30 ministries of health, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the International Trachoma Initiative, the World Health Organization and more than 20 not-for-profit eye health organisations.


2.6 million
people were examined during the three-year project
global organisations worked together on the project
£10.6 million
was donated by the UK government

What did the project achieve?

Thanks to Android technology, the GTMP was able to survey more districts in three years than had been recorded in the previous 12 years. The data collected enables ministries of health to focus their strategies to tackle trachoma using the WHO-approved SAFE strategy: surgery, antibiotics (through mass drug administration), face-washing and environmental improvements (such as sanitation).

During the project, more than 550 teams of trained surveyors, including ophthalmic nurses, visited millions of people in sample households in the most remote locations in 29 countries, including Chad, Eritrea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Colombia and Yemen.

Next steps: the Tropical Data initiative

The mapping of trachoma and the legacy of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project lives on in the Tropical Data initiative, which was launched in July 2016.

Tropical Data uses the same approach and methodology as the GTMP, enabling organisations to plan, collect and analyse data about trachoma.
Read more about Tropical Data

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Sightsavers and trachoma