Gambia has finally gotten rid of trachoma. This is one of the major causes of blindness globally. This was announced by the government after working for almost forty years to fight the disease.
This Trachoma, is an eye infection by bacteria, which destroys the eyelids, leading to the turning inwards of the eyelashes. This is one of the 20 tropical diseases that has been neglected. The World Health Organization has revealed that this majorly affects the poorest people in the world. If this bacterial infection is not fixed with surgery, this could cause blindness and irreversible vision loss.
NTDs director, Simon Bush, during an international charity set up to eliminate tropical diseases that have been neglected and stop avoidable blindness, said that:
Eliminating a disease on this scale is a massive achievement. The news provides hope for other countries still working towards elimination of the disease and, most importantly, shows the strategy we are using works.Simon Bush
This success is coming some months after the launch of a roadmap to fight against 20 neglected diseases by year 2030. Since the start of the 2000s, those at risk of suffering from trachoma have reduced by over 90%. However, it still affects some people in over 40 countries, most of which are in Africa.
It has caused visual impairment or blindness in about 1.9 million people. According to the government’s announcement, Gambia fought this for almost 40 years, which involved great work from the health workers, local communities, and NGOs.