A boy in Mali is handed a dose of praziquantel a medicine that helps prevent the NTD schistosomiasis - Credit - USAIDs Act to End NTDs West

A boy in Mali is handed a dose of medicine to help prevent a neglected tropical disease – Credit – USAIDs Act to End NTDs West

Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recognizes Mali for eliminating the leading infectious cause of blindness as a public health problem. The World Health Organization has officially recognized the achievement. 

This substantial public health achievement was led by Mali with the support of local and global partners and donors. USAID has worked alongside country leadership to eliminate trachoma and other NTDs since 2006. After years of treatment with safe, effective medicines donated by Pfizer, Inc, surveys show that trachoma no longer presents a significant public health concern to people in Mali. 

Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection spread through contact with infected persons, often through direct personal contact, shared towels or cloths, as well as eye-seeking flies. Repeated infection can develop into a condition known as trichiasis. If left untreated, this painful condition can result in vision loss or permanent blindness. Stigmatization and loss of opportunity from the disease can place a tremendous economic burden on individuals, families, and communities.

USAID is a global leader in the elimination and control of five of the most common NTDs. Globally, USAID has supported the delivery of 3 billion donated treatments to 1.5 billion people at risk of NTDs across more than 30 countries. As of today, 12 USAID-supported countries have eliminated at least one NTD.

See additional information from the U.S. Mission in Mali.