Trachoma is an infectious eye disease that causes eyelids to turn in and lashes to scrape the eyeball, causing great pain, corneal ulcers and irreversible blindness unless treated with antibiotics or a simple surgical procedure. Trachoma affects the poorest of the poor and nearly 232 million people are living in trachoma-endemic areas in 58 countries.
In 1998, Pfizer and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation co-established the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating trachoma by 2020. The ITI initiative is now housed at The Task Force for Global Health, an independent not-for-profit, where the ITI manages Pfizer’s donation of the antibiotic Zithromax® (azithromycin), the antibiotic used to treat trachoma in certain countries. ITI collaborates with governmental and nongovernmental agencies at local, national, and international levels to implement the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended SAFE strategy for trachoma control.
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Trachoma is Treatable and Preventable with Full Implementation of the WHO Recommended SAFE Strategy
Pfizer, through the ITI, is partnering with a number of global health organizations to eliminate trachoma. These include: governments, United Nations agencies, World Health Organization (WHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Carter Center, CBM, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Helen Keller International, The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Light for the World, Lions Club International, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Organization pour la Prévention de la Cécité, Orbis, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, RTI International, Sightsavers, Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, and World Vision.
To date, through the ITI, Pfizer has donated 500 million doses of its antibiotic.
Since the start of the program in 1998, more than a hundred million people in 33 countries have been treated.
Oman became the first country to achieve validation of elimination by WHO in 2012. In addition, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Morocco and Vietnam all have reported the achievement of elimination goals to WHO and are awaiting validation.
To learn more about the International Trachoma Initiative, please visit www.trachoma.org.