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Eliminating Trachoma

Discover how communities and experts are joining together to end trachoma disease across over 44 endemic countries.

Overview
Overview - Eliminating Trachoma
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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.

What topics will you cover?

  • Natural history, clinical signs and grading of trachoma
  • Evidence from global mapping of trachoma
  • Planning and coordination of trachoma mapping and control activities at community, district, national and global levels
  • Development of a Trachoma Action Plan
  • Public health approach for the control of trachoma
  • How epidemiological data provides guidance for interventions and setting local targets
  • Practical approaches for the four elements of the SAFE strategy to control trachoma: surgery, mass distribution of antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement
  • S: strategies for community mobilisation, preparing patients, selecting surgical methods, managing post-surgical trichiasis and monitoring outcomes and outputs towards elimination
  • A: selection of antibiotics, distribution pathways, microplanning local campaigns, addressing barriers and managing coverage
  • F&E: Understanding influences on behaviour, situation analysis for F&E, assessing sanitation hardware requirements, identifying and engaging with appropriate stakeholders for water, sanitation and hygiene activities
  • Assessing the validation process for trachoma elimination
  • Monitoring and evaluation indicators of SAFE interventions for impact and surveillance surveys
  • Completion of the WHO dossier to validate the elimination of trachoma at national level

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • Assess the natural history, clinical signs and grading of trachoma
  • Describe the evidence from global mapping of trachoma
  • Reflect on the public health approach for the control of trachoma
  • Evaluate the planning and coordination of trachoma mapping and control activities at community, district, national and global levels
  • Discuss how epidemiological data provides guidance for interventions and setting local targets
  • Interpret, and elaborate for the local setting, each of the SAFE strategy components to manage and control trachoma
  • Apply monitoring and evaluation indicators of SAFE interventions for the validation and certification of elimination of trachoma at district and national level

Who is the course for?

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.

Requirements

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.

About the International Centre for Eye Health

The International Centre for Eye Health is based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where it is led by Professors Allen Foster and Clare Gilbert. The main aim of the Centre is to facilitate a reduction in blindness with a particular emphasis on low-income countries.

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