Vanuatu Eliminates TrachomaVanuatu has become the first Pacific Island country to eliminate trachoma.

The disease thrives in areas where drinking water and sanitation is poor.

The infection is easily spread through personal contact and by flies that have been in contact with people’s eyes or noses. It disproportionately affects mothers and children.

The final push to eliminate the blinding disease was made by The Fred Hollows Foundation, with support from The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, The UK Government’s The Commonwealth Fund, and the Australian Government’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) funding.

The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO, Ian Wishart, congratulated Vanuatu for declaring trachoma is no longer a public health problem.

“Vanuatu’s validation is encouraging news for several other Pacific nations which are working towards a final push to eliminate trachoma, an ancient disease that should not exist today,” Mr Wishart said.

The International Coalition for Trachoma Control Chair, Dr Angelia Sanders, said, “Vanuatu’s success in eliminating trachoma as a public health problem should provide optimism across the region that the global NTD (Neglected Tropical Diseases) road map target to eliminate trachoma can be achieved by 2030, through effective partnerships and collaboration across sectors.”

WHO Department of Control of NTD Chief Scientist, Dr Anthony Solomon, welcomed the announcement.

“We’re making a lot of progress to eliminate trachoma globally and we’re pleased to see Vanuatu and the Pacific notching up further successes,” he said.
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