Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is spread through contact with infected eye and nose secretions, 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, in which scarring and inward turning of the eyelid causes the eyelashes to scrape against the cornea of the eye. If left untreated, this painful condition can result in permanent blindness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 190 million people in 41 countries are at risk for trachoma. Trachoma is responsible for the visual impairment of an estimated 1.9 million people worldwide, half a million of whom are irreversibly blind. Trachoma is commonly found in areas with limited access to adequate water, sanitation and basic hygiene.Impact
Learn more at the WHO Trachoma page
WHO recommends the SAFE strategy to eliminate trachoma. The SAFE strategy is a comprehensive public health approach that combines treatment (Surgery and Antibiotics) with prevention (Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement), to reduce the occurrence of trachoma.
The Agency provides technical and financial support to countries in their efforts to eliminate infectious blinding trachoma as a public health problem. The primary focus of Agency support is on scale-up of mass drug administration with antibiotics (the “A” component of the SAFE strategy) in communities at risk. The Agency also provides support to countries to assist with the surgical component of the SAFE strategy, with a focus on high-quality treatment and care.
Global scale-up of the SAFE strategy requires dynamic public-private partnerships. The Agency works closely with a broad range of public and private partners dedicated to the global elimination of trachoma, including Pfizer, Inc., which has donated more than 500 million Zithromax® treatments to countries in support of the “A” component of the SAFE strategy.
Press release of Pfizer donation of 500 millionth dose.
Trachoma Control: A Guide for Program Managers (WHO) [PDF, 424KB]
Trachoma Action Planning: A Planning Guide [PDF, 2.5MB]
The End in Sight: 2020 INSight [PDF, 1.6MB]
Webinar: Assessing MDA Coverage: Are We Getting the Coverage We Need? (USAID Envision Project/RTI)
Tracking Geographic Coverage of TT Management Services (USAID MMDP Project/Helen Keller International) [PDF, 305KB]
Monitoring of Surgical Quality, Patient Satisfaction, and Data Quality during the 3–6-month Period Following Trichiasis Surgery (USAID MMDP Project/Helen Keller International) [PDF, 610KB]
Organizing Trichiasis Surgical Outreach – a Preferred Practice for Program Managers (International Coalition for Trachoma Control)