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Global Trachoma Mapping Essential To Eliminating Disease

“Today we draw attention to trachoma, a disease deeply affecting Mozambicans, and the world’s leading cause of preventable infectious blindness,” Sharone Backers, the resident program adviser for the Envision project, managed by RTI International in Mozambique, writes in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog, noting the theme for World Sight Day 2013 — observed on October 10 — was universal eye health. As the goal of eliminating trachoma by 2020 approaches, “collaboration between national governments, [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] and donors is essential in determining where interventions are needed,” Backers continues.

“At present, over 110 million people are believed to live in areas where trachoma is endemic but the exact distribution and disease burden of trachoma is unknown, with many areas left unmapped or having out-of-date epidemiological data.” She notes, “RTI International, through the USAID-funded Envision project, and Sightsavers, through the DfID-funded global trachoma mapping project, are working together to respond to this need for mapping,” and describes their work. She concludes, “While we are at the beginning of our journey to eliminate blindness from trachoma in Mozambique, we have a clear target. Our progress in trachoma mapping thus far shows what can be achieved when a country is committed and when aid organizations work collaboratively, using their expertise and financial resources to support a common goal” (10/15).