The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust to eliminate blinding Trachoma in Zambia by 2019
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Director of Advocacy and Commonwealth Engagement Eleanor Fuller OBE has revealed that the Trust has decided to fund its activities to target the elimination of blinding Trachoma in Zambia by 2019
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Director of Advocacy and Commonwealth Engagement Eleanor Fuller OBE has revealed that the Trust has decided to fund its activities to target the elimination of blinding Trachoma in Zambia by 2019.
In an interview after she paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde yesterday to brief him on projects that Zambia was benefiting from, Ms. Fuller said sight loss gives rise to a huge economic burden and that prevention of avoidable blindness will yield major gains for Zambia and other Commonwealth countries.
She said the painful, low vision and blindness caused by the disease can trap people in a cycle of poverty by preventing them from going to work where women and children may also have to give up education or employment to provide care to affected family members.
“Having previously supported Trachoma mapping in Zambia, the Trust has decided to fund activities to target the elimination of blinding trachoma nationwide by 2019. This painful, slowly blinding, infectious disease can be eliminated by the SAFE strategy: Surgery: to correct the inturning eyelashes of sufferers; distribution of carefully dosed Antibiotics; Face washing to reduce transmission; Environmental improvements to reduce the number of flies. The Trust is working closely with DFID,” She said.
She said planning for the implementation of the programme is now underway and this is likely to include distributing antibiotics to 3.8 million people and providing surgery for 2,400 people,” she said.
She said Trachoma starts with a bacterial eye infection which if left untreated can lead to blindness adding that Trachoma is responsible for 3 percent of global blindness, causing 1 adult to go blind every 15 minutes.
Ms. Fuller said up to 230 million people are at risk of catching the disease with 70 percent of those affected are women.
She said ninety-eight million people across the Commonwealth are blind or have low vision, from a range of causes.
Ms. said it was a fact that 80 per cent of blindness is now preventable adding that the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has made tackling avoidable blindness the main focus of its programmes.
And High Commissioner Chikonde said he was pleased that Zambia was amongst the two countries in African who are going to benefit from the project targeting at the elimination of Trachoma by 2019.
Among other programmes that the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust run is the Queen’s Young Leaders where Zambia is benefiting from.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Zambia High Commission in the United Kingdom.