The Trachoma Initiative, which began in 2014, has supported ministries of health to fight trachoma by following the SAFE strategy, a four-pronged approach approved by the World Health Organization.
The SAFE acronym stands for surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements: this has proven to be the most effective way of ridding communities of trachoma.
The programme ran in seven African countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
A key part of the programme has been making sure local health care providers have the skills, resources and staff to prevent trachoma, now and in the future, so they can respond to cases should new outbreaks occur.
This public health approach covers four methods used to stop the spread of the disease.More about SAFE
Many countries are working towards eliminating trachoma, but sustained, high-quality programmes are needed to enable them to achieve this.
The insight provided by the Trachoma Initiative is helping us to understand what works when it comes to tackling the disease, and will be a vital source of information as countries continue on the path towards trachoma elimination.
Sightsavers coordinated the initiative on behalf of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control, collaborating with ministries of health, affected communities, the UK aid-funded DFID SAFE programme (in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia) and a network of other partners and programmes.
Implementing partners include ITI, The Fred Hollows Foundation, WaterAid, RTI International, Operation Eyesight, Light for The World, John Hopkins, Helen Keller International, CBM, The Carter Center, AMREF and KCCO.
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust was a time-limited charitable foundation, which was established in 2012 to mark and celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In January 2020, the Trust successfully completed its programmes and ceased operating as a grant-making organisation.
Sightsavers’ Boubacar Morou Dicko shares the obstacles Mali faced on the road to eliminating trachoma, and how the country was able to overcome them.
Both countries’ achievements have been validated by the World Health Organization, meaning they join a growing list of countries to have banished the disease.
Benin has become the latest country to eliminate blinding trachoma. Here we meet people whose lives have been transformed, and those who helped to banish the disease.