International Trachoma Initiative

Our Purpose:

Pfizer believes that all individuals deserve access to quality healthcare and the opportunity to lead healthy lives. We combine traditional philanthropic methods with novel approaches to create an enduring and meaningful impact on public health systems to facilitate access to healthcare for underserved communities around the world.

Pfizer, through its Corporate Responsibility team, makes the best use of Pfizer’s resources—our people, products, and funding—to help build healthcare capacity, expand access to medicines and offer community support through corporate citizenship initiatives.

One of Pfizer’s key initiatives is working to help end the suffering and cycle of poverty caused by trachoma. 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.

Our Work:

In 1998, Pfizer and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation co-established the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating trachoma by 2020. Currently housed at the Task Force for Global Health, the ITI manages Pfizer’s donation of the antibiotic, Zithromax® (azithromycin). 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:

Surgery for turned in eyelashes/eyelids

Antibiotics to treat and prevent active infection

Facial cleanliness to prevent disease transmission

Environmental change to increase access to water and sanitation

Our Partners:

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, Organisation 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.

Our Impact:

  • 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

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