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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 115-121

Challenges of trachoma control: An assessment of the situation in Northern Nigeria

1 Director of Programmes, Prevention of Blindness Union, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Ministry of Health Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, Nigeria
3 Sight Savers International, Nigeria office Kaduna, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Mansur M Rabiu
Director of Programmes, Prevention of Blindness Union, Musa Nusayr Street, Olaya 11472, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.80699

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Over the last three decades, a lot has been achieved in the control of trachoma worldwide. New assessment techniques, effective evidence-based control strategy with new methods and drugs, and an aggressive global partnership for the control of the disease have evolved. As such the number of people with the disease and blindness due to the disease had drastically reduced. Trachoma is now only responsible for about 4% of blindness worldwide down from 12% some few decades ago. Some countries are on the verge of eliminating the disease as a public health problem. Despite these achievements numerous challenges remain for achieving trachoma control in endemic communities. This article highlights the challenges faced in one of the known trachoma endemic areas - northern Nigeria. Aspects on the dearth of complete situational data on trachoma, fragmented implementation of the SAFE strategy, community apathy, difficulties faced in ensuring safe, and quality lid surgery in the most difficult terrain where the disease thrives are discussed here. Other unique challenges like managing children with severe trichiasis, curbing the high rate of early-onset recurrence of trichiasis after lid rotation surgery and challenges to maintain supply of antibiotics and implementation of facial cleanliness and environmental improvement components of the control strategy are presented along with the learnt experiences and recommendations. These challenges and their remedies are likely to be shared by other trachoma endemic areas in Africa.

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