Malawi govt, BICO upbeat to eliminate trachoma by 2019

Malawi Government and Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach (BICO) have expressed hope that Malawi would eliminate trachoma by year 2019 through Trachoma Elimination Programme.

Prof Kalua: We have made progress

This was said on Monday at the commencement of trachoma mass drug administration (MDA) campaign in Monkey-Bay, Mangochi.

Assistant Director for Clinical Services – Ophthalmology in the Ministry of Health, Michael Masika and Director for BICO, Prof. Khumbo Kalua said Malawi has achieved a lot since the campaign took off the ground in 2012.

They duo expressed hope that by 2019, Malawi would be the first country in the Southern Africa to be trachoma free.

“We have conducted a number of studies since 2012 which shows that the prevalence rate of trachoma in children of less than 9 months was between 10 – 20 percent but it has now lowered tremendously,” Kaluwa said.

He said the Trachoma Elimination Programme was targeting 17 districts in the country since its inception.

They said despite making some strides in this endavour, they would not relent but to continue with the fight against eye ailment in Mangochi, Nkhotakota, Dowa, Lilongwe, and Karonga respectively.

Masika said, “We would continue sensitizing Malawians to participate in the exercise to eliminate the disease once and for all.”

To achieve this, they said government would continue training more eye specialists to handle all eye problems.

The Trachoma Elimination Programme is funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust fund (The Trust) to the tune of MK6.3bn (7.3m Euros).

The administered drugs include Tetracycline eye ointment and Azithromycyine and prescription of the drugs is dependent on age and height of the recipient.

The exercise which will run up to October 2017 is targeting over 1 million people in Mangochi which include children from 6 months old.


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