Mali Becomes 17th Country to Beat Trachoma


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Mali became the seventeenth country to receive this award WHO endorsement Elimination of trachoma as a public health problem.

External examination of a woman’s right eye for symptoms of trachoma / CDC

the Carter CenterHelen Keller Intl and Sightsavers are proud to be working together in partnership to support the Government of Mali in its fight against trachoma.

Together, the Malian people have shown perseverance and dedication in eradicating trachoma in their communities. said Professor Lamine Traoré, coordinator of the National Program for Eye Health (PNSO) in Mali. “The trachoma burden was severe when the program began, yet Mali has shown what is possible through collaboration and partnership. I am proud to share this amazing achievement with the people of my country and hope it will be an inspiration to other nations facing similar battles.”

The PNSO in Mali has overcome significant challenges to achieve this feat, including vast terrain, the spread of disease, political instability, and conflict. A 1996 survey found trachoma in nearly every region of the country with approximately 10 million people at risk of becoming blind. Mali has now become the first country with such significant levels of trachoma at the start of the program to achieve validation status.

Trachoma, one of the oldest diseases in the world and the leading cause of infectious blindness, affects members of society who are under-resourced. Frequent trachoma infections in childhood cause internal eyelid scarring that can lead to irreversible blindness in adults. Women are exposed to repeated infections through their role in caring for children, who are usually the reservoir of disease. For this reason, they are twice as likely as men to suffer from the blinding stage of the disease.

“Eradicating trachoma will have a huge impact on people in Mali and will have a ripple effect on our society in many different ways,” said Boubcar Dicko, Director of Sightsavers in Mali. “Ending the disease will break the vicious cycle of pain, disability, and stigma for many patients, as well as increase productivity, improve school attendance, and allow for greater empowerment of women.”

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Mali and The Carter Center’s partnership on trachoma began when President Carter traveled there to visit President Amadou Toumani Toure in 1998. During that trip, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter emphasized that working in close partnership to help implement health programs was a guiding principle for The Carter Center.

“Achieving this goal together shows what we can achieve when we earn the trust of our partners and follow the lead of Mali’s Ministry of Health,” said Saadi Moussa, the Carter Center’s Senior Country Representative in Mali. “This success has given us the confidence to continue investing in neglected tropical diseases to ensure that all families receive and afford the care they need to not only eliminate specific diseases, but also achieve improved overall health.”

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