India free from Trachoma

India has become free from Trachoma—a chronic infective disease of the eye and a leading cause of infective blindness—with an overall prevalence found to be only 0.7% in the National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17).

The survey findings indicate that the active trachoma infection has been eliminated among children in all the survey districts with an overall prevalence of only 0.7%. This is much below the elimination criteria of infective trachoma as defined by the WHO- active trachoma is considered eliminated if the prevalence of active infection among children below 10 years is less than 5%.

The Survey results indicate that active trachoma is no longer a public health problem in India. India has now met the goal of trachoma elimination as specified by the WHO under its GET2020 program. This has been possible due to decades of inter-sectoral interventions and efforts that included the provision of antibiotic eye drops, personal hygiene, availability of safe water, improved environmental sanitation, availability of surgical facilities for chronic trachoma, and a general improvement in the socio-economic status in the country.

About Trachoma:

Trachoma is a chronic infective disease of the eye and is the leading cause of infective blindness globally. Trachoma is a disease of poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation.

It affects the conjunctiva under the eyelids. Repeated infections cause scarring leading to in-turning of the eyelashes and eyelids. This further causes damage to the cornea and blindness.

It is found affecting the population in certain pockets of the States of North India like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the Nicobar Islands. Trachoma infection of the eyes was the most important cause of blindness in India in the 1950s and over 50% population was affected in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. It was the most important cause of corneal blindness in India, affecting young children.

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