Fighting Disease: Mali
Since 1999, The Carter Center has supported the Mali Ministry of Health's National Prevention of Blindness Program to control trachoma, focusing on facial cleanliness and environmental change in Segou and Mopti regions. In late 2008, the Mali National Prevention of Blindness Program engaged its partners to create a plan to eliminate trachoma nationwide by 2015. In response, The Carter Center expanded assistance to implement SAFE strategy interventions in Segou, Mopti, and Sikasso regions with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. SAFE is a multi-pronged approach to trachoma prevention that includes: Surgery, Antibiotics, Face washing and hygiene education, and Environmental improvement.
The national program also supports outreach campaigns to increase the accessibility of trichiasis surgery among the target population. In 2014, The Carter Center facilitated nearly 2,742 surgeries. The Carter Center also has supported the distribution of antibiotics — tetracycline eye ointment and Zithromax® (azithromycin, donated by Pfizer Inc) — for the elimination of blinding trachoma. With a strong focus on health and hygiene education, The Carter Center has supported the training of community health agents, local leaders, community radio station DJs, and women's groups to encourage face washing, hand washing and latrine construction and use.
In partnership with Sightsavers and Helen Keller International, The Carter Center supports radio broadcasts of trachoma messages promoting the SAFE strategy and community support for surgical and mass drug distribution campaigns. These broadcasts have reached an estimated audience of more than 11 million people throughout Mali.
In 2014, with Carter Center support, health education on trachoma prevention reached 221 more villages, bringing the cumulative total of villages receiving health education to over 2,600 villages. Since 1999, over 97,000 household latrines have been constructed.
To assist national planning and target setting, The Carter Center also supports the Malian Trachoma Control Program with prevalence survey training and implementation.