The International Trachoma Initiative: Eliminating the World’s Leading Cause of Infectious Blindness
We recognize that collaboration is essential to solving complex global public health challenges. One of several neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified for elimination, 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. It is the world's leading infectious cause of blindness and primarily affects remote communities with severely limited access to healthcare, clean water, and sanitation. In 2019, just over 142 million people are at risk of trachoma, a 91% reduction from the 1.5 billion in 2002.1
The International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) is housed at The Task Force for Global Health, an independent not-for-profit, through which the ITI manages Pfizer’s donation of Zithromax® (azithromycin), the antibiotic used to treat trachoma in certain countries. The ITI also provides support to national ministries of health and governmental and non-governmental organizations to implement a comprehensive approach to fight trachoma.
As Pfizer continues to work toward achieving near-term milestones that address NTDs, we are committed to donating Zithromax through 2025.
Learn more about trachoma and what we're doing to relieve the burden.
Trachoma is Both Treatable and Preventable With Full Implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Recommended SAFE Strategy
Pfizer and the ITI are part of a global network of more than 100 diverse partners working together 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 & 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.
In 2018, Pfizer celebrated 20 years of commitment to eliminating trachoma. Since the program began, we have donated more than 850 million doses of Zithromax shipped to 40 countries. As a result of a coordinated program scale-up with our partners, just over 100 million of those doses were shipped in 2018 alone.
The WHO validated that Ghana and Nepal reached trachoma elimination in 2018, making them the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to achieve this target. Both received Pfizer's Zithromax donation and are proof that the comprehensive global trachoma elimination strategy is working.
To learn more about the International Trachoma Initiative, please visit www.trachoma.org.