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Trachoma Elimination is in Sight
Pfizer is committed to the global effort to eliminate trachoma in the world’s poorest communities by the year 2020; trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. We work together with more than 100 organizations to ensure that underserved communities are equipped with the resources they need to fight trachoma. For Pfizer’s part, we partner with the International Trachoma Initiative to donate Zithromax® (azithromycin), an antibiotic used to treat the infection. Through this partnership, several countries, including Oman and Morocco, have received WHO recognition as having eliminated trachoma, and more countries are on the path to do so.
Public-private partnerships are the backbone of the global effort to eliminate all neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including trachoma. Pfizer, together with NGOs, other pharmaceutical companies and governments, have formed Uniting to Combat NTDs, a public-private partnership that harnesses the power of partnership to control, eliminate, and eradicate NTDs and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
“The public-private partnership Uniting to Combat NTDs is one of the largest of its kind in public health,” says Julie Jenson, Director Supply Chain, Corporate Responsibility at Pfizer, and member of the Uniting to Combat NTDs Stakeholders Working Group. “This year, the pharmaceutical companies will donate over a billion treatments of drug for neglected diseases but then it’s really up to donors, endemic countries and NGO partners to complement that drug donation with the other public health activities that are needed.”
By combining our resources with the expertise of our socially responsible partners, Pfizer is supporting comprehensive public health solutions that address the needs of the most vulnerable.
Although many people around the world have never heard of trachoma, a staggering 182 million people are at risk of developing the disease. Women and children with limited access to water and sanitation are particularly susceptible since trachoma can be spread by flies and through close personal contact.
Individuals who develop trachoma struggle to earn a living, support their family, and be active members of both their family and community.
“Trachoma is a disease that’s associated with poverty and it’s a cause of poverty in addition to being a result of poverty,” says Paul Emerson, Ph.D., Program Director of the International Trachoma Initiative. “It traps people in a terrible cycle where they are unable to get out and to fulfill their own human potential.”
Healthcare infrastructure in developing countries is often weak or non-existent, which is why Pfizer, along with our partners, is providing assistance where it is needed most. In doing so, we are helping to achieve progress toward the worldwide elimination of trachoma.