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Nepal eliminates trachoma

Trachoma has been eliminated as a public health problem in Nepal, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The South Asian nation is now one of the countries to have been officially recognised for eliminating the disease, and its success has been seen as a positive sign in the global fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTD).

The successful elimination of the disease is the result of a joint elimination program coordinated by WHO, the Nepalese Government and non-profit research institute RTI International. Funding and technical support was also provided by the United States Agency for International Developments (USAID)’s flagship NTD program, Envision.

“Nepal’s trachoma elimination success is a tangible example of the impact of USAID investment in communities and RTI’s mission to improve the human condition,” RTI president and CEO Mr Wayne Holden said.

USAID and RTI collaborated with local NGO partner Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) to provide technical and financial support for trachoma mapping of 31 districts, support the distribution of more than 2.4 million treatments through mass treatment campaigns and conduct trachoma impact surveys in 20 districts.

The project, which began in 2009, also saw the development of a trachoma elimination dossier that documented the prevalence of disease, treatments provided, the care available for those with trichiasis, and access to clean water and sanitation.

Finally, RTI collaborated with Johns Hopkins University and NNJS to conduct research on the timing of trachoma surveillance. The research found it was reasonable to conduct surveillance surveys only two years after impact surveys had indicated that mass treatment was no longer necessary, as waiting longer provided no additional benefits, while the addition of a trachoma antibody test could be promising for future surveillance activities.


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