French-speaking countries in West Africa joined forces to eliminate trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, under a new initiative spearheaded by The Task Force’s International Trachoma Initiative (ITI). Representatives discussed funding, logistics, and supply-chain management issues around the mass drug administration of antibiotic for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem.
One of the goals was to get countries with well-developed trachoma elimination programmes to share best practices with their peers. As a result, Mali and Senegal are now planning to share their knowledge and experience with the others.
“These countries that share a common language can also share the resources and best practices needed to eliminate trachoma,” said ITI Director Paul Emerson, PhD.
ITI will continue working with the countries to ensure that they reach their elimination goals, including providing antibiotic and technical assistance for disease surveillance. Also planned are web-based information exchanges and annual meetings among the countries.