Malawi to be Trachoma free by 2020

Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed that Malawi will totally eliminate Trachoma, a dangerous eye infection by 2020 if communities under medication and supervision adhere to medical precautions and advice.

Trachoma Eye Disease
Trachoma Eye Disease

MoH authority highlighted total elimination means reducing the Trachoma cases to anywhere below 5 percent which is not considered as a public health problem.

Assistant Director in Clinical Services at the ministry Michael Masika attributed this during Nkhotakota full council meeting organized to alert the council on the final drug medication phase which will be administered from August 22 this year.

He said Nkhotakota was one of the districts in Malawi which recorded high cases of Trachoma registering 12 percent and as such the inhabitants were supposed to receive drug medication for three consecutive years to totally eliminate the infection.

He explained that the project also include surgery, facial improvement and environmental cleanliness as activities.

“Trachoma is a preventable and reversible eye infection which if carelessly handled leads to total blindness. Poor hygiene and water shortage encourages the spread of the disease through flies.

“We believe chiefs, councilors, MPs will help us to address some challenges that include myths that result from religious and cultural beliefs, “while some people refuse to take the drugs because of religion, others believe they cannot take the drugs without feeling sick.”

Masika said the project was promising in the district with targets raised from 82 percent in 2014 to 97 percent in 2015.

He advised the council to report any cases of drug theft to police if the project is to be a success.

Some councilors however, outlined that some communities did not receive the last two treatments due to lack of communication and adequate health personnel.

The council therefore urged Ministry of Health to look seriously into such problems so that every community member is reached.

Bright Chiwaula, Programme Manager for Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Trusts which is funding the project said the whole mission costs 5.7m pounds (about MK5.6bn)

A research done indicated all districts in Malawi except Likoma have traces of Trachoma. 17 countries ranked above 5 percent hence there was need for special medication. The project runs through to 2019.

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