Preventing avoidable sight loss from cataract and blinding trachoma.

Eliminating trachoma

The prevention and control of trachoma is one of the emphases of the Foundation’s efforts in safeguarding vision in Mali, Niger and Tanzania. An In Practice paper titled “Eliminating Blindness from Trachoma Infection” details the Foundation’s approach to the elimination of blinding trachoma using the SAFE strategy — Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement — as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Foundation has played a critical role in the fight against the disease, contributing directly to the programs in several target countries, including Ghana (which achieved elimination targets in 2014), as well as Mali and Niger (which are poised to eliminate trachoma by 2016). From 2008 to 2014, the Foundation’s support enabled its partners to provide sight-saving surgery for 81,980 people suffering from trichiasis — the advanced, blinding stage of trachoma — and to train 324 surgeons to a certification standard, contributing to improved quality and outcomes of surgeries.

Improving access to cataract surgeries

The Foundation also seeks to improve access to cataract surgery through supporting social enterprise models, community ophthalmology, and strengthening of the eye healthcare sector. Africa has a severe shortage of ophthalmologists; the Foundation’s health systems strengthening efforts are focused around the provision of surgical training and tools, as well as increased outreach and screening efforts to reach individuals afflicted with this condition.

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