Malawi eliminates trachoma

Malawi eliminates trachoma

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has validated Malawi for eliminating trachoma bacterial eye infection as a health problem in the country.

The country is the first in southern African nation to eliminate the disease and it is among five countries in Africa that have achieved this milestone.

In a statement, WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said the achievement is life-changing for millions of children who were at risk of contracting the disease.

She urged other countries to follow the example set by Malawi in fighting against the disease.

Moeti: The achievement is life-changing

Said Moeti: “Malawi’s achievement is life-changing for millions of children who were at risk of this devastating disease. Trachoma results in painful late complications leading to sight impairment, a life-long disability which causes significant emotional and economic hardship for families.

“With Malawi showing the way I hope other endemic countries in southern Africa will prioritise the fight against neglected diseases that cause untold suffering to vulnerable populations.”

In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the ministry is excited with WHO’s validation of Malawi’s success in the fight against the disease.

He said: “We are excited at the accolade which comes after hard work, diligence and application in identifying cases, getting them effectively treated and interrupting further transmission of the disease in Malawi”

 Secretary for Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo said the validation has been achieved through good collaboration and coordination among all partners.

Malawi has been known to be endemic for trachoma since the 1980s. However, it was not until 2008 that trachoma received due attention.

In 2015, the country reported that 7.6 million people were at risk of trachoma infection.  About 125 million people are still battling the disease globally.

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