In Pictures: Global Survey of Trachoma Eye Infections Begins in Ethiopia

Genemo Abdela is one of the many surveyors responsible for examining almost 600,000 people in Ethiopia. (Photo: Sightsavers)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – Global efforts to eliminate the most common infectious cause of blindness, trachoma, has taken an ambitious step forward as mapping of the disease began in Ethiopia last week. The global survey, funded by the UK government, aims to see a sample of four million people across more than 30 countries examined by March 2015 to identify where people are living at risk and where treatment programs are needed.

According to a press release by Sightsavers, a British non-profit organization that heads the project, the blinding disease is already known to affect more than 21 million people but it is estimated that an additional 180 million people worldwide live in areas where trachoma is highly prevalent.

The first survey started this week in Oromia, in central Ethiopia where 22 million people live in suspected endemic areas. Five-year-old Bigiltuu Kefeni, and her family from Keta Town in the region were among the first of four million people to be examined by a specially trained ophthalmic nurse. The availability of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in their village was also recorded, with all data captured on a smart phone.

It is the first time that mobile data has been used to survey a global health issue on such a wide scale. The final data will be mapped and made available online at

Mapping trachoma eye infections in Ethiopia – in pictures (The Guardian)

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