World Sight Day: Accelerating the Elimination of Trachoma
On 8 October 2020, we commemorated the 2020 World Sight Day, themed: Hope in Sight.
Trachoma is a debilitating but preventable disease. Whilst most stages of the infection may be reversible, if left untreated the damage to the eye can be permanent, leading to blindness. CIFF is working with partners across Africa to address this challenge.
We join various partners across the globe in creating awareness about trachoma, one of the leading causes of blindness that can be controlled and prevented simply by implementing the SAFE strategy.
CIFF’s work on trachoma elimination in Africa involves joint efforts with different donors and governments through the AcceleraTE programme, led by Sightsavers. So far, we have pushed 14 African countries through the final hurdles of trachoma elimination. Similarly, our Operation Sight project in Ethiopia is set to clear the Trachomatous Trichiasis (TT) surgery backlog of the country through a comprehensive and collaborative process over a period of 2 years, which will;
- Triple the Integrated Eye Care Worker (IECWs) workforce by training 1,394 eye care workers in Ethiopia.
- Enhance government ownership by equipping primary and secondary eye care unit with adequate surgical consumables.
- Aim to clear the TT backlog in the country in under 24 months.
Furthermore, our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects in Ethiopia and Kenya add another dimension to accelerating the elimination of trachoma. Integrating WASH into NTD programming is essential for long term sustained impact, as proper face and hand hygiene is critical in breaking community transmission of trachoma, and to this end availability of clean water is critical. To sustainably address the issue of trachoma CIFF calls for increased country leadership, and cross-sector collaboration between health and WASH programmes.
We look forward to supporting our partners and grantees today in raising awareness of world sight day. To learn more about CIFF’s NTD and WASH investments, click here.
Nebiyu Negussu, Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases
Nebiyu is CIFF’s Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases, and is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.