Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has committed 7.3 million British Sterling Pounds (5.1 Billion Kwacha) to Malawi Government for a trachoma elimination campaign, to be rolled out soon.
The project was launched in Malawi in October 2014.
Ministry of Health spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe told Lilongwe News Agency, the campaign whose ultimate objective he said was to eliminate the blinding trachoma in Malawi by2018, a year earlier than the global deadline.
“The campaign is already on course to eliminate blinding trachoma in Malawi by 2018. Globally, the target is 2019 but Malawi aims at a year earlier,” he said.
He said government is to carry out such enormous exercise jointly together with its partners.
“Malawi government through the Ministry of Health and its partners, with financial support from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, will be carrying out the trachoma elimination campaign. This funding will be channeled through Sightsavers,” he said.
Chikumbe further explained that a National Task Force comprising various partners is already formulated to help in planning, implementation as well as monitoring of the activities during the campaign.
And one of the implementing partners, Sightsavers revealed that Malawi is one of top 14 countries most affected by blinding trachoma disease in the world.
“Nearly 239 million people lives in trachoma endemic districts globally, about 9.5 million people are in Malawi,” reads the document.
Adding that other countries also gravely affected by the disease, are Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and Nigeria, among others.
Sightsavers explained that the Trust was set up to contribute to human development in developing countries like Malawi.
In its document, Sightsavers further disclosed that by 2019, the programme will have targeted 15 districts, in the country. And also, provide over 5,000 people surgery for advanced trachoma, distribute antibiotics to over eight million people both children and adults.
It will also promote facial cleanliness and use of sanitation facilities for children and adults to prevent infection.
“ The major beneficially of this campaign will be the Malawian population especially those living in the 15 trachoma endemic districts of Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Salima,Ntchisi, Dowa, Lilongwe, Ntcheu, Mangochi, Machinga, Zomba, Karonga,Mchinji, Nsanje, Neno, and Mwanza,” said Chikumbe.
Associated with poor hygienic and living conditions, Trachoma, popularly know in vernacular as “Nkungudza or Linyonyo” preventable though, is the disease that slowly and painfully robs people of their sight, as repeated infections turns eyelashes inwards, scraping the cornea and eventually causing irreversible blindness.
Chikumbe explained that government is therefore encouraging all patients to come in their large numbers for treatment during and after the campaign.
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