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TT surgery on 1.6mln people prevents blindness: Health Minister

Addis Ababa, October 11, 2023 (FBC) – The Ethiopia Trachoma Program has performed the trachomatous trichiasis (TT) surgery on 1.6 million people and prevented blindness from trachoma, Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse disclosed today.

Addressing the conference on eliminating trachoma in Ethiopia, the minister said Ethiopia is currently implementing the WHO strategy towards trachoma elimination, ENA reports.

Accordingly, “the Ethiopia Trachoma Program had significant progress in preventing severe forms of trachoma in various parts of the country. Results from our ongoing survey being conducted in trachoma endemic woredas or districts show that 1.6 million individuals, most of them women, have received surgical correction commonly known as trachomatous trichiasis (TT) and were able to avert blindness.”

Through the Government of UK support more than 5 million people have received improved access to WASH since 2018, which is really prominent not only to sustainably eliminate trachoma but also to prevent other water borne diseases, it was pointed out.

According to her, ensuring the availability of qualified and skilled integrated eye care workers at primary health care units and performing TT surgeries in large numbers are among the reasons that resulted in the progress achieved.

The Duchess of Edinburgh and Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) said on her part that collaborative effort is needed to eliminate trachoma and create free generation.

In spite of many exciting successes the last few years have shown us, global developments can quickly undermine the progress, Sophie stated, adding that gains can be lost overnight if the strategies are not strong.

“The Government of Ethiopia and WASH are collaborating to create more access to clean water and sanitation so that now we can begin to look towards trachoma free future for Ethiopia,” the duchess noted.

The Duchess of Edinburgh is currently visiting Ethiopia to celebrate the transformative work of the international eye care charity Orbis, and participate in World Sight Day on 12th October.

The international eye care charity Orbis played a leading role in developing 266 primary eye care units, 10 secondary eye care units, 3 pediatric eye care centers, and 6 optical workshops in Ethiopia since 1998.

According to Community Eye Health Journal, Ethiopia has the greatest burden of trachoma worldwide, accounting for 49 percent of 136.2 million people at risk globally.

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that almost 460,000 people in Ethiopia require surgery to treat trachomatous trichiasis (TT), the late blinding stage of the disease.

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