KATHMANDU/NEW DELHI/GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Nepal for having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem – a milestone, as the country becomes the first in WHO’s South-East Asia Region to defeat the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.
Trachoma was the second leading cause of preventable blindness in Nepal in the 1980s.
In 2002, the Government of Nepal stepped up efforts to eliminate the disease with the establishment of a national trachoma programme. From 2002 to 2005, following the implementation of sustained control activities, the prevalence of active (inflammatory) trachoma fell by 40%.
To increase awareness, the national trachoma programme collaborated with the Ministry of Education to include a module on trachoma in the school curriculum.
Approximately 30,000 operations were provided to manage trichiasis, and almost 15 million doses of azithromycin were distributed. Between 2002 and 2014, eye hospitals and dozens of eye centres and clinics with trained staff were established across Nepal.