BOOST FOR BATTLE AGAINST TRANCHOMA

Talent Gore

SIXTEEN African countries, including Zimbabwe, have received a financial boost of $36.5 million to eradicate trachoma, an eye disease that can lead to the loss of eyesight.

This is part of the Accelerate programme, which started in 2018 as part of The Audacious Project hosted by TED, and is being spearheaded by a non-profit organisation, Sightsavers.

The funding is sourced from international donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for Zambi.

In addition to Sightsavers’ own contribution, this will supercharge the organisation’s commitment to ending trachoma in 12 of the supported countries by 2027.

Trachoma, initially presenting as a bacterial infection, can lead to irreversible blindness if left untreated.

The disease causes scarring of the conjunctiva and painful inward turning of eyelashes, resulting in scraping of the eye with each blink.

Sightsavers Zimbabwe country director, Peter Bare, explained the devastating impact of trachoma on individuals.

“Trachoma is a horrific disease that stops people from earning a living, caring for their families or going to school. It is almost like you have sand or even thorns in your eyes,” he said.

“Through Accelerate, Sightsavers were able to support the government of Benin to eliminate trachoma in 2023 and this new funding will supercharge our support for 16 more countries, including Zimbabwe, to finally end the scourge of trachoma.”

Sightsavers has worked with governments in more than 30 countries to control and eliminate various diseases.

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