DUBAI, Noor Dubai Foundation announced that is has treated 16 million Ethiopians for trachoma – one of the main Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
As a member of Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC), Noor Dubai Foundation has invested $2.8 million towards fighting trachoma in Ethiopia over the last eight years. The Trachoma Elimination Programme has distributed 87 million doses of medicine covering over 16 million people.
The programme has also conducted 356,620 eye surgeries, trained 49,950 health workers and 37,032 teachers, and built over 300,000 latrines.
In celebration of the World NTD DAY, which is marked on 30th January, the foundation aims to support control of blinding infective eye diseases, especially the NTDs. It has focused its efforts in fighting trachoma in the Amhara region in Ethiopia, the region with the highest burden of trachoma in the world.
In collaboration with the Carter Centre, the programme employs the World Health Organisation endorsed strategies, known as the SAFE strategy to control the disease, which includes surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness programmes, environmental improvement.
Trachoma is the leading cause of infectious blindness worldwide. It is estimated to be responsible for the visual impairment of about 1.9 million people, of whom 1.2 million are visually impaired irreversibly, with approximately 136.9 million people worldwide living in trachoma-endemic districts. Trachoma can destroy the economic well-being of entire communities, keeping affected families trapped in a cycle of poverty as the disease passes from one generation to the next.
Children are the main reservoir of infection, in addition to women, who are often responsible for the care of children, therefore women are more susceptible to infection and tend to go visually impaired from the disease at nearly twice the rate of men.
Dr. Manal Taryam, Board Member and CEO of the Noor Dubai foundation, stated, “The foundation is committed to fighting trachoma and working towards the elimination of this blinding disease in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Based on the latest studies conducted in March 2020, 29 percent of the districts in the Amhara region have achieved the elimination threshold for trachoma. Although progress has been made on that front, trachoma remains a health issue in other districts within Amhara”.
Noor Dubai is in the process of renewing its commitment to elimination of the disease with programme partners for another four years. The programme, which will primarily be focused on Mass Drug Distribution (MDA) as it is the simplest and most cost effective way to treat the disease, aims to distribute an additional 43 million doses of medicine serving a population of 14.3 million individuals, while adhering to protective protocols of spreading COVID-19.
Source: Emirates News Agency