Left Menu
Development News Edition

UK aid to help eliminate the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness

International Development Secretary announces new funding to 10 Commonwealth countries to tackle trachoma.

Government Press Release | Updated: 16-04-2018 14:10 IST | Created: 16-04-2018 14:09 IST
UK aid to help eliminate the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness
To help eliminate the disease, UK aid will provide additional support to 10 Commonwealth countries over the next two years. (Image Credit: Flickr)

Millions of people across the Commonwealth will be free of blinding trachoma as the UK steps up its support to tackle this ancient and avoidable disease, the International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt will announce today.

Trachoma, a bacterial infection that can lead to permanent loss of sight, affects more than 52 million people across 21 Commonwealth countries. If left untreated, the painful disease, which is the world's main infectious cause of blindness, can cause eyelids to turn inward, or eyelashes to grow towards the eye scratching the cornea.

To help eliminate the disease, UK aid will provide additional support to 10 Commonwealth countries over the next two years, providing antibiotics to millions, surgery and education programmes to teach people how to stop the spread of this infection.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

British research, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies have been at the forefront of the global fight to eliminate blinding trachoma that causes debilitating pain for its victims.

UK aid has already made a huge difference to vulnerable people in countries including Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda, freeing families trapped in a cycle of poverty as the disease passes from one generation to the next. In Malawi for example, four years ago eight million people were at risk of trachoma and now no-one is.

This further commitment will mean millions of people across the Commonwealth will receive vital sight-saving treatment and we will be on course to eliminate this ancient and avoidable disease.

This new package of UK support will:

  • Enable our partners to map out where the disease remains in 138 districts in Tanzania, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Kenya;
  • Help Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru work with the World Health Organisation to confirm they have eliminated trachoma;
  • Provide 76,000 people with surgery in Kenya, to prevent blindness and end the pain trachoma causes, and eliminate the disease as a public health problem by 2020; and
  • Help Pakistan, Tanzania, and Papua New Guinea get nearer to elimination as millions receive sight-saving treatment.

Today's support is part of the UK's £360 million commitment made in April 2017 to provide a billion treatments for people at risk of neglected tropical diseases like trachoma and guinea worm. Neglected tropical diseases affect over a billion people in the poorest and most marginalized communities in the world, stopping children going to school and parents going to work - costing developing economies billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and reducing overall global prosperity.

The International Development Secretary will highlight the results of UK aid at an event this evening organised by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (QEDJT) to celebrate work to eliminate trachoma across the Commonwealth.

Dr. Astrid Bonfield CBE, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, said:

At the Trust, thanks to supporting from DFID and our partners from across the Commonwealth, we have seen how the elimination of trachoma transforms lives for the better.

It is wonderful news that more citizens, communities, and countries across the Commonwealth can now look forward to a future free of the scourge of this ancient, painful, blinding disease.

Through our partners, Sightsavers and the QEDJT, UK aid has made huge progress in fighting avoidable blindness. UK aid has helped to train more than 10,000 people to look for the final trachoma cases around the world. These trained specialists have provided crucial advice to those affected by the disease, helping them to get surgery and teach them on how to stop the spread of the infection itself.

Dr Caroline Harper CBE, CEO of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – more commonly known as Sightsavers – welcomed the announcement:

Blinding trachoma is a horribly painful disease that has devastating effects on the people it affects and their communities.

This new investment the Commonwealth 2018-20 Fund will help us make huge strides towards eliminating this ancient scourge from the Commonwealth and will also encourage other donors to step forward."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Poor on IHR capacity progress in 2019, WHO says Cambodia tops COVID-19 response

Despite being in proximity to Hubei, the original epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has reported just 226 confirmed cases and zero deaths. After seeing the data, WHO appreciated Cambodias healthcare information system but experts dou...

Loopholes in Healthcare Information System may have failed Singapore COVID-19 model

In the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore was in the limelight for its effective healthcare system and pandemic response plan. However, Singapore has now joined the list of the worst-hit nations and the situation is even worse...

Videos

Latest News

A PICTURE AND ITS STORY-Capturing a rescue in Beirut

When he first felt the ground shaking, Reuters photographer Mohamed Azakir thought Beirut had been struck by an earthquake.Then he heard the explosion. Grabbing his camera, Azakir rushed out into the streets, trying to locate the source of ...

Sailing-New Zealand to join SailGP fleet with Burling and Tuke

New Zealand will join the 1 million prize SailGP championship next season with a team led by defending Americas Cup champions and Olympic gold medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.The New Zealand SailGP Team will be among the fleet of hi...

Canes D Hamilton returns to practice

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton practiced with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday for the first time since July 22. He left that July practice when he was experienced pain during drills, then missed the Hurricanes qualifying series against the ...

US STOCKS-Wall Street gains as markets look to aid package, Nasdaq closes above 11,000

Shares on Wall Street shrugged off a sluggish start and closed higher on Thursday, with the Nasdaq ending the session above 11,000 for the first time as investors hoped for a new fiscal stimulus package.Tech and tech-related heavyweight sto...

Give Feedback