India now free of infective trachoma

Calling it a momentous achievement, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda on 08 December 2017 declared India free of Infective Trachoma, which has been a leading cause of infectious blindness among children. This is much below the elimination criteria of infective trachoma as defined by the WHO. The survey findings indicate that the active trachoma infection has been eliminated among children in all the survey districts with overall prevalence of only 0.7 per cent.

This further causes damage to the cornea and subsequently blindness. It is found affecting the population in certain pockets of the states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh as well as the Nicobar Islands. The National Trachoma Prevalence Surveys and the Trachoma Rapid Assessment Surveys were conducted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi in collaboration with National Program for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment and Union Health Ministry from 2014 to 2017.

We have met the goal of trachoma elimination as specified by the WHO under its GET2020 program. This has been possible due to decades of inter-sectoral interventions and efforts that included provision of antibiotic eye drops, personal hygiene, availability of safe water, improved environmental sanitation, availability of surgical facilities for chronic trachoma, and a general improvement in the socio economic status in the country

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