Trachoma Current Affairs

Nepal becomes first country in south-east Asia to eliminate Trachoma: WHO

World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Nepal for having eliminated trachoma, a contagious bacterial infection of the eye. It makes Nepal first country in WHO’s South-East Asia Region to defeat trachoma, world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. The eye disease was second leading cause of preventable blindness in Nepal in 1980s. Its prevalence in Nepal has fallen by 40% following implementation of sustained control activities including national trachoma programme which provided incentives to local communities and districts to build and maintain latrines, measures that were crucial to improve sanitation and reduce disease carrying flies.

WHO Criteria used to assess country’s claim for having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem

  • Less than 5% of children aged 1–9 years have signs of active trachoma
  • Less than 0.2% of people aged 15 years and older have trachomatous trichiasis.
  • Health system which can identify and manage new cases of trachomatous trichiasis.

Trachoma

It is an eye disease caused by infection with bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Infection is particularly common in young children. It causes inflamed granulation on inner surface of eye lids. It spreads through contact with infective eye or nose discharges. Ocular or nasal discharge can be transmitted directly from person to person or be mediated by flies which have been in contact with eyes and noses of infected people. Trachoma transmission is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene, which increase availability of eye discharges and encourage breeding of flies. It can be treated with antibiotics in case of children. Older people infected with it require eyelid surgery to cure it.

India had self-declared itself free from infective Trachoma in December 2017 after it met goal of trachoma elimination as specified by WHO under its GET2020 (Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020) program.

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India declared free from Trachoma bacterial infection of eye

India was declared free from infective Trachoma, a contagious bacterial infection of the eye. The infection causes inflamed granulation on the inner surface of the lids.

It was announced by Union Health Minister J P Nadda after releasing National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17) in New Delhi. With this, India met goal of trachoma elimination as specified by World Health Organisation (WHO) under its GET2020 (Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020) program.

Trachoma

Trachoma is a chronic infective disease of eye and is leading cause of infective blindness globally. It is outcome of poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation. It affects conjunctiva under the eyelids.

Repeated Trachoma infection causes scarring leading to in-turning of the eyelashes and eyelids which further causes damage to cornea and blindness. It is main cause of corneal blindness in India, affecting young children. It was found affecting the population North Indian states like Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh.

National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17)

The Survey results indicate that active Trachoma is no longer a public health problem in India. It was possible due to decades of inter-sectoral interventions and efforts that included provision of antibiotic eye drops, personal hygiene, improved environmental sanitation, availability of safe water, availability of surgical facilities for chronic trachoma.

Trachoma has been eliminated among children below 10 years in all survey districts with overall prevalence of only 0.7%, much below elimination criteria of infective trachoma as defined by WHO. As per WHO targets, Trachoma is considered eliminated if prevalence of active infection among children below 10 years is less than 5%.

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