The federal government of Mali has simply introduced that our nation has eradicated the infectious eye illness trachoma as a public well being drawback.
As Sightsavers’ nation director for Mali, I’m proud that we now have achieved this historic milestone. Trachoma results in a vicious cycle of ache, poverty and incapacity; with out it, extra kids will likely be free to study, and extra adults will be capable of earn a dwelling. Beating the illness can be a step in the direction of equality, as ladies are nearly twice as prone to go blind from this illness than males.
Nevertheless, getting so far hasn’t been simple. We’ve confronted some massive hurdles throughout the numerous years of our struggle in opposition to the illness. Right here, I’ll be revealing the three fundamental challenges we confronted, and the way we overcame them. I hope this can present inspiration for different international locations which are nonetheless on the street to eliminating trachoma.
Problem 1: Thousands and thousands of individuals prone to trachoma
When a survey was carried out in 1996, trachoma was present in practically each area of the nation, and practically 10 million folks had been recognized as being in danger from the blinding illness. The duty we had forward of us was monumental. Fortunately, the SAFE technique, adopted by WHO in 1993, gave us the instruments that we wanted.
SAFE stands for surgical procedure, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental enhancements. Collectively, these components have been used to defeat trachoma in international locations all over the world.
We have now a saying in Mali – “Dôni-Dôni te-tô-to kola”. It signifies that if we do one thing daily, we will overcome any problem. That is very true once we are working in partnership with different like-minded organisations.
We benefited from shut collaboration with different non-governmental organisations reminiscent of The Carter Middle and Helen Keller Intl, and collectively we had been in a position to help the federal government of Mali of their struggle in opposition to trachoma. They had been within the driving seat, whereas we supplied technical help the place it was wanted.
Collectively we supported the federal government to coach 243 trachoma surgeons, perform nearly 90,000 operations for superior trachoma, distribute 29 million doses of antibiotics in opposition to the illness and construct practically 140,000 latrines to enhance sanitation and hygiene.
With each eye operation accomplished and each latrine that was constructed, we knew we had been saving extra folks from the agony and potential blindness which are attributable to trachoma. After practically 30 years, we’re proud to have the ability to say that we now have succeeded in our mission to remove the illness.