Malawi free from trachoma ahead of WHO deadline: gov't

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-17 18:27:47|Editor: Li Xia
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LILONGWE, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Malawi is now free from trachoma, beating the international trachoma elimination deadline of 2020 as set by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a government spokesperson.

Ministry of health spokesperson Joshua Malango told local media Saturday that recent impact survey showed that active trachoma in Malawi is less than 1 percent.

According to Malango, this is far below 5 percent which is WHO's recommended prevalence rate of trachoma for a country to be declared free of the disease.

"WHO set 2020 as the year to eliminate blinding trachoma but as a country we set 2019 as our target and we have managed to bring the prevalence rate of the disease to less than 1 percent and, as we speak now, trachoma is no longer a public health problem," said Malango.

He said this has been achieved following mass trachoma drug administration in the districts where the disease was prevalent, such as the lakeshore districts of Mangochi and Nkhotakota, Nsanje and Chikwawa down south.

In 2018, the director for clinical services responsible for eye care in the ministry of health, Michael Masika, said the ministry had already engaged other neighboring countries to ensure that the disease is eliminated altogether.

In 1996, WHO launched the Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020.