Trust’s Trachoma Initiative launches in Uganda

Kampala, Uganda: The Trust is today honoured to launch its historic Trachoma Initiative in Uganda. Spearheaded by the Uganda Ministry of Health and working with members of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC), the Trust’s Initiative aims to make significant advances towards the elimination of blinding trachoma across Uganda over the next five years.

Approximately 10.8 million of the 229 million people living in trachoma endemic districts globally live in Uganda. The disease slowly and painfully robs people of their sight, as repeated infection turns eyelashes inwards, scraping the cornea and eventually causes irreversible blindness.

The Trust’s Initiative in Uganda, which is being co-ordinated by The Carter Center and delivered by ICTC members Sightsavers and Christian Blind Mission (CBM), will treat and protect people suffering from this painful disease across the endemic regions. By 2019, it will:

  • Target 17 districts in Karamoja (7) and Busoga (10) regions
  • Provide surgery to over 38,834 people with advanced stages of blinding trachoma, known as trichiasis, to correct their in-turned lashes
  • Improve community health messages on effective hygiene and sanitation practices
  • Work with others at all levels – global, national and district – to improve access to safe water sources and sanitation in the programme areas.

New capacity-building initiatives, re-training, strengthened quality control and follow up will be key components of the programme.

Dr. Edridah Tukahebwa, NTD National Coordinator, Ministry of Health says:

In honour of Her Majesty The Queen, Uganda highly appreciates The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust for selecting Uganda as one of the five African countries supported by the Trust Initiative Funds for the progress towards the elimination of trachoma. Over 5 million Ugandans will benefit from this generous support.  As a country, we are committed to contribute to the global Trachoma Elimination Initiative by 2020.

Kelly Callahan, Director, Trachoma Control Program, The Carter Center says:

The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative will help accelerate the progress of eliminating blinding trachoma in Uganda. The Carter Center is committed to assisting the government of Uganda and its partners in efforts to reduce the suffering from a disease that is devastating to the health and well-being of families and entire communities

Between 2014 and 2019, The Trust plans to fully eliminate blinding trachoma in Kenya and Malawi and make significant advances towards elimination in Mozambique, Nigeria, and Uganda.  It will also tackle the disease in other Commonwealth countries in the Pacific and in Australia.

The Initiative is based on a large-scale programme of Surgery, Antibiotic distribution, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement initiatives. This tried and tested strategy, known as SAFE, is endorsed by the World Health Organization and has already yielded strong results in other Commonwealth countries such as Ghana.

Sir John Major KG CH, Chairman of the Trust said:

I am delighted that the Trust is working with the Government of Uganda to support their work in eliminating blinding trachoma across the country. Through this Initiative, the Trust seeks to make a real and enduring difference to people who are needlessly blind, in the name of Her Majesty The Queen.

By tackling this disease, not only will the Trust’s Initiative help save the sight of people in Uganda and elsewhere, but it will enable children and young people to stay in education, and allow people to go out to work and support themselves and their families.

#EndTrachomaUganda