Sightsavers Malawi has lamented that Trachoma continues to be a national problem causing blindness in many people, currently affecting 12 000 people annually in Malawi.
Roy Hauya, Sightsavers Country Director said this when his organization briefed the media in Lilongwe on the problem and asked them to work hand in hand with his organization to educate Malawians on the disease.
He announced that the organization will conduct a 12 days campaign from 26th October to 6th November this year to conduct antibiotic treatment to over eight million people both children and adults in targeted districts in the country.
According to Hauya, Malawi is hit hard by Trachoma mostly among women and children due to poverty and poor health care hence urged people to promote facial cleanliness and use of sanitary facilities to prevent the infection.
“We want to eliminate Trachoma in Malawi by 2019 and we are hopeful that by 2018 we might be able to conduct 6 000 eye surgeries,” explained Hauya.
He added: “It is unfortunate that women who are prone to the disease are not aware of the treatment option nor have easy access to these services, instead they choose to go to traditional healers, an act which eventually leads them to total blindness.”
Speaking at the same function, Bright Chiwaula, Programme manager of the Queen Elizaberth Diamond Jubilee Trust disclosed that out of 28 districts in Malawi only Likoma is free from Trachoma but the disease is highly increasing in the districts of Central Region with high numbers of prevalence in Nsanje in the South.
“We conducted a survey recently which revealed that this disease is worst in the Central Region and some districts in the Southern Region due to cultural beliefs and poverty,” said Chiwaula.
He also disclosed that 15% of blindness in Malawi is caused by Trachoma.
Sightsavers has received a grant of 7.3 British pounds to conduct a five year project on Trachoma Elimination in conjunction with the Ministry of Health in Malawi.