The Carter Center works with ministries of health in six African countries to eliminate blinding trachoma, the world's leading cause of preventable blindness.
Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection found in poor, isolated communities lacking basic hygiene, clean water, and adequate sanitation.
It is easily spread from person to person through eye-seeking flies, hands, and clothes. Repeated infection leads to scarring and inward turning of the eyelid — a very painful condition called trichiasis — eventually causing blindness if left untreated.
Trachoma can be found in over 50 countries, most in Africa and the Middle East, and a few countries in the Americas and Asia.
Globally, 200 million people are at risk for trachoma, and over 3.2 million are at immediate risk for blindness from trichiasis.
Currently there are 31 countries actively implementing a preventative strategy. The Carter Center works to control and prevent trachoma in the following six countries: Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. Ethiopia has the highest known burden of active trachoma infection in the world. The Carter Center supports the region in Ethiopia that is most affected with active trachoma.
The Carter Center's Trachoma Control Program was established in 1998. As a global leader in the fight against trachoma, the Center and partners implement the World Health Organization endorsed SAFE strategy for trachoma control.
SAFE is a multipronged approach to trachoma prevention that includes: Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement.
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Antibiotic distribution to treat children's active trachoma infections brings auxiliary benefits to public health and may reduce child mortality, since antibiotics can help cure common childhood killers like diarrheal diseases. Read more >