Preventable Blindness Dramatically Reduced Worldwide

Preventable Blindness Dramatically Reduced Worldwide

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ghana-eye-surgery.jpgThanks to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Trachoma Initiative, the number of people suffering with preventable blindness in the last ten years has been reduced from 63 million to 41 million, according to a 2008 announcement.

The International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) was founded in 1998 in response to the World Health Organization’s call to eliminate preventable blindness — trachoma — by the year 2020.  ITI’s founding partners, Pfizer Inc and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, saw the need for an international charity dedicated solely to the elimination of blinding trachoma.

In 2008, the number of Pfizer-donated antibiotic treatments surpassed 100 million, and the number of people who have received blindness-preventing eyelid surgeries exceeded 410,000.

With Ghana’s Trachoma Control Program cases of active trachoma in children 1-9 years of age dropped from a high of 16% in some districts to as low as 0.1—2.8%. Ghana is now on track to meet its goal of eliminating the blinding condition by 2010—ten years before the target date of 2020.

GET2020 is a WHO alliance of partners for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the Year 2020.

In the ten years since ITI was founded, more than 77 million Zithromax treatments have been administered throughout 15 countries.

Note: Thanks to Bill F. for submitting the story idea!