Why in News?
India has become free from Trachoma—a chronic infective disease of the eye and a leading cause of infective blindness—with an overall prevalence found to be only 0.7% in the National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17).
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
About the disease
Trachoma is a disease caused by poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation. It affects the conjunctiva which lines the inside of the eyelids.
Repeated infections can cause scarring, leading to in-turning of the eyelashes and eyelids. This further causes damage to the cornea and blindness.
The disease is found to be affecting the population in certain pockets of north Indian states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the Nicobar Islands.
WHO’s mandate is to provide technical leadership and coordination to the international efforts aiming to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem.
The recommended elimination strategy, known as “SAFE”, was adopted by WHO in 1996, and is a combination of interventions implemented as an integrated approach. SAFE is an acronym for:
i)Surgery for trachomatoustrichiasis
ii)Antibiotics to clear infection
iii)Facial cleanliness to reduce transmission
iv)Environmental improvement, particularly improved access to water and sanitation.
In 1997, WHO launched the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 (GET2020).
It is a partnership which supports country implementation of the SAFE strategy and the strengthening of national capacity through epidemiological assessment, monitoring, surveillance, project evaluation and resource mobilization.