WHO declares Nepal first to eliminate trachoma in 11 South-East Asian nations

  • clear vision strategy
- Rastriya Samachar Samiti, Kathmandu
USAID Mission Director Amy Tohill Stull shared her happiness on USAID co-operation with Nepal since 2008 and the success in eliminating the disease was achieved in a decade

Nov 23, 2018-Nepal has become the first country in the South Asia to eliminate trachoma—one of the oldest infectious eye diseases in the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Nepal the first nation among 11 South-East Asian countries under its domain to alleviate trachoma after meeting the stipulated criteria.

World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh handed over the certificate of trachoma disease elimination in Nepal to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Upendra Yadav at an event held to celebrate elimination of trachoma in the Capital on Thursday, Trachoma is known to be the second leading cause of preventable blindness in Nepal. It is an infectious disease caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The infection causes a roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids. This roughening can lead to pain in the eyes, breakdown of the outer surface or cornea of the eyes, and eventual blindness.

Doctors have said that the poor sanitation, crowded living conditions, and not enough clean water and toilets also increase spread of the disease.

Ministry of Health and Population Acting Secretary Sushil Nath Pyakurel said the disease was eliminated with collective efforts while calling for active participation of all actors to keep the achievement.

The government has become successful in eliminating trachoma through its arduous efforts as the disease can easily spread by both direct and indirect contacts with an effected person’s eyes or nose.

On the occasion, DPM Yadav termed the trachoma elimination a big achievement in the public health sector. Trachoma disease spread in Nepal since 1989. Dr Poonam Singh, appreciated Nepal’s success, saying it was worth sharing to others.

USAID Mission Director Amy Tohill Stull shared happiness that USAID had been co-operating Nepal since 2008 and the success is achieved in a decade.

Ministry of Health and Population Health Coordination Division Chief Mahendra Shrestha, and others said all sides need to continue collaboration to retain the status.

The national trachoma elimination programme started in Nepal in 2002 with the financial and technical support of International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), USAID and Helen Keller International.

Pyakurel said the incidence of trachoma was seriously tackled after the intervention activities accelerated as per the strategy suggested by the WHO. As many as 10,000 social mobilizers and 16,000 health volunteers were involved the successful programme.

Nepal distributed 14.7 million dozes of antibiotic-azithromycin- till 2014, the Health Ministry said.

Currently, only less than five percent of people belonging to 1 to 9 year age group have trachoma symptoms, while 0.2 percent people over 15 years have this symptom. Then Minister of State for Health and Population Padma Aryal had received the certificate mentioning Nepal as a trachoma free country during the 71st General Assembly of WHO in May early this year.

Published: 23-11-2018 07:15

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment