Celebrating success on the road to national Trachoma elimination in Uganda
6th June: The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is today celebrating the expansion of its Trachoma Initiative in Uganda. Due to the significant progress being made towards trachoma elimination, the Trust, with support from Lions Clubs International Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), is now expanding its Initiative into 14 new districts in the East, West and North of Uganda.
The celebratory event, taking place in Lira, is being attended by senior country officials including representatives from the Ministry of Health and other key partners involved in the delivery of the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative in Uganda.
Trachoma is caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis which causes repeated conjunctivitis, and is spread by close contact with an infected person or through transmission by eye-seeking flies. It is most commonly found in poor, rural communities where people have limited access to clean water and healthcare.
Uganda is a trachoma-endemic country in east Africa where an estimated 10 million people are at risk of developing the disease. The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative was launched in Uganda in November 2014 and to date has treated 25,650 people with surgery for trachoma trichiasis, the final, most painful and ultimately blinding stage of the disease. The programme will now be expanded in 14 districts across Uganda where work will be undertaken to:
· provide surgery to all people with trachoma trichiasis to correct in-turned eyelashes;
· Promote facial cleanliness across to reduce reinfection and to prevent transmission from person to person
· Help secure environmental improvements to increase access to safe water sources and sanitation
It is anticipated that this expansion will enable Uganda to achieve the national elimination of blinding trachoma across the country by early 2019.
The Trust’s Chief Executive, Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, who is attending the expansion celebration event in Lira said: “It is with great pleasure that we can announce our expansion of the Trachoma Initiative across 14 districts of Uganda and we are proud to be working with the Ministry of Health and our remarkable partners towards the elimination of the disease across the country by 2019.”