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We’re so close to beating trachoma

We aim to eliminate the disease in the countries where we work, freeing millions of people from the blindness, poverty and social isolation that trachoma can cause.

Caroline Harper speaks at TED 2018.

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Caroline Harper, CEO of Sightsavers, holding a dose pole.

Sightsavers CEO gives TED Talk outlining plan to eliminate trachoma

During her talk, Caroline Harper urged philanthropists to support the newly launched Audacious Project, which could help to eliminate the disease.

Watch the TED Talk

As part of our mission to protect sight, Sightsavers works to treat and prevent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a group of infections such as blinding trachoma, which affect more than a billion people worldwide.

Around 1.9 million people are blind or visually impaired because of trachoma but the disease can be treated, cured and prevented from recurring. Trachoma elimination has already been achieved in countries including Oman, Morocco and Mexico, meaning millions of people no longer live with the pain, suffering and blindness it can cause.  Yet there are still 39 countries that count trachoma as a public health problem. Working with our partners, we’re on track to eliminate the disease in the countries where we work.

In 2012, the World Health Organization set out a strategy that aimed to speed up efforts to tackle NTDs. It was hoped that combining the efforts of governments, NGOs, communities and international organisations would bring us a step closer to ending the misery caused by these diseases.

Fast-forward just five years from 2012 and the scale of what has been achieved is almost unparalleled: the global effort to control and eliminate NTDs is one of the largest public health initiatives ever seen. But there is still work to be done. You can help by donating, or find out about sponsoring our projects and other corporate opportunities with Sightsavers.

Trachoma starts as a bacterial infection

Find out more about the disease

How we’re eliminating trachoma

A community worker from Sightsavers' NTDs campaign.

A billion treatments

In December 2017 we counted down to our one billionth treatment for neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma. We finally reached our target, bringing us one step closer to eliminating these diseases for good.
Read about our milestone

A mobile phone being used to collect data.

Tracking trachoma

Sightsavers is pioneering new ways to use technology to save sight. The Global Trachoma Mapping Project and Tropical Data programmes have used smartphones to gather data and identify where our help is needed.
Learn about trachoma mapping

Sister Habiba Shemsu.

Training local workers

We help to train local eye surgeons and health workers so they can provide support and treat people in their own communities. Sister Habiba Shemsu works in south-west Ethiopia, providing treatment in rural areas.
Read Sister Habiba’s story

Help us eliminate trachoma

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Could fund a sight-saving trichiasis operation.

Could provide more than 700 people with the antibiotics to treat trachoma.

Could protect six whole communities against trachoma.

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