Trachoma remains endemic in 44 countries and has blinded or visually impaired around 1.9 million people worldwide. The number of people at risk of trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness – has fallen from 1.5 billion in 2002 to just over 142 million in 2019, a reduction of 91%, WHO has reported. The action taken towards eliminating trachoma is on the right path but it needs to be reach everyone and must be sustained! Trachoma is a neglected tropical disease. It occurs in some of the poorest populations with limited access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare, and is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. At present, we have a unique opportunity to eliminate this disease.
This course aims to inform and support the personnel implementing and managing trachoma programmes at a district and community level. Additionally, the course will provide insights from stakeholders, experts and professionals as they share successes and resolve challenges to achieve elimination of trachoma.
Understand trachoma as a disease
This course will teach you to evaluate the natural history, clinical signs, and grading of trachoma in individuals, and map the burden of disease at a community level.
Explore the epidemiology of trachoma
We will investigate and provide guidance on how epidemiological data informs the selection of interventions at local and national level, and how it informs decision making on the path to eradicating the disease.
Discover how trachoma elimination strategies are implemented
Appropriate interventions to eliminate trachoma are encapsulated by the acronym ‘SAFE’, which represents surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement. We will consider what it takes to deliver the SAFE strategy in trachoma-endemic regions with agreed best practices, and how to best monitor and evaluate these activities for improved effectiveness. Since 2011, eight countries have been validated by WHO as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem, providing key learning for sustained and collaborative action.
Dr Anthony Solomon, Medical Officer in charge of WHO’s global trachoma elimination programme says, “We should be able to relegate trachoma to the history books in the next few years, but we will only do so by redoubling our efforts now. The last few countries are likely to be the hardest.”
Throughout the course we will use a variety of learning tools and provide opportunities to interact and learn through online conversations with peers and educators from across the world. A wide range of experts will be taking part, including:
- Academics from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- Stakeholders from NGOs
- Experts from water, sanitation and hygiene, and
- People active at the community level.
This practical course is for everyone involved, or interested in, delivering health services to eliminate blinding trachoma. It may be of interest to those working in or studying medicine, and will be of special use to those working in neglected tropical diseases (NTD), public health or ophthalmology. Content is focused on the action that needs to take place at a local community level.