Home NewsAfrica Nigeria, 15 countries get $36.5m to eliminate trachoma disease

Nigeria, 15 countries get $36.5m to eliminate trachoma disease

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

An international non-governmental organisation, Sightsavers has donated $36.5 million to Nigeria and 15 other countries to help in the elimination of trachoma.

The Country Director for Sightsavers, Dr Joy Shu’aibu, made this known in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Sightsavers is an international non-governmental organisation that works with partners in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness and promote equality for people with visual impairments and other disabilities.

Trachoma, is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which begins as a bacterial infection that affects the eye and causes vision loss and permanent blindness.

Dr Shu’aibu said the funding was under its ‘Accelerate Programme’ aimed at eliminating the disease by 2027.

According to her, trachoma is a horrific disease, which stops people from earning a living, growing food, cooking and caring for their families and going to school.

She said, “People describe the pain as like having sand or thorns in their eyes. Through the Accelerate Programme, Sightsavers was able to support the government of the Republic of Benin, to eliminate trachoma in 2023.

“And this new funding will supercharge our support for 16 more countries, including Nigeria to finally end the scourge of trachoma.”

She added that the additional funds would extend the Accelerate Programme, which began in 2018, as part of The Audacious Project, hosted by TED.

According to her, the new funding is from international donors, which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

Others include, she said are the ELMA Foundation and, for Zambia, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust as well as Sightsavers’ contribution.

The fund, she added, would also contribute support to Ethiopia, which carries the world’s highest burden of the disease.

The 12 countries targeted to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem by 2027 includes Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Sightsavers has more than 70 years of experience working with governments in over 30 countries to control and eliminate NTDs.

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