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Monday, 25 February 2019 06:32

Malawi advances in eliminating Trachoma

Written by  Tione Andsen
Malawi is the last mile to be declared trachoma free Malawi is the last mile to be declared trachoma free pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)

Lilongwe, February 25, 2019: Ministry of Health and Population has said Malawi has advanced in making progress and achievements towards elimination of Trachoma for the past five years.

Secretary for Health and Population, Dr Dan Namarika made the remarks Thursday during Trachoma Elimination in Malawi Progress Update held at Sunbird Capital hotel in Lilongwe.

He said the progress and achievements made so far as a result of close partnership that existed among several key stakeholders who contributed positively to ensure that the issue of Trachoma is addressed in the country.

Namarika said Malawi has been on target in elimination the disease in its efforts to ensure that it is no longer a public health problem.

Secretary for Health commended Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust fund for the generous five year grant which helped the country’s health sector to achieve such a mile stone.

“They have been providing leadership and coordination support at all levels of the health system to facilitate roll out of several interventions,” he pointed out.

Namarika said the Trust’s funding provided interventions to 17 districts using Surgeries, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement (SAFE) Strategy and supported training of adequate number of surgeons to carry out surgeries.

He thanked Sightsavers and others partners for working in close collaboration with the Ministry to ensure that the drive to eliminate trachoma in the country is achieved.

“The National Programme to Eliminate Trachoma was launched in 2011. Between 2011 and 2014 a number of trachoma surveys were conducted and the results which informed the development of Trachoma Action Plan (2014-2019, with the overall goal of eliminating blinding trachoma using SAFE strategy by 2019.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Dr Astrid Bonfield said the five year initiative, established to leave a lasting legacy in honour of her majesty The Queen.

She said the initiative is now its final 12 months working in the country.

Bonfield added that “ Trachoma is an infectious disease easily spread from person to person and is most commonly found in poor, rural communities with limited access to clean water and sanitation,”

She pointed out that the initiative has accelerated efforts to free Malawi of trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.

Head of Department for International Development (DFID), Dave Beer said Malawi should strive to ensure that it reaches the last mile for it to attain free trachoma status.

He said measure should be put in place that achievements that have been made are being sustained at all levels in order to eliminate trachoma.

World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative to Malawi, Dr Fabian Ndenzako said Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) requires a collective responsive in order to contain them because they are having adverse impact to most countries in the region.

He said by 2020 his organization need to validate Malawi Trachoma free status but there is need to put much efforts to achieve the feat.

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