Nepal has become the first country in south-east Asia to eliminate trachoma, world’s leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin.
According to a statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO), ‘Nepal’s achievement is commendable and results from a strong political commitment, intense community engagement and impressive leadership demonstrated by civil society
Trachoma was the second leading cause of preventable blindness in the Himalayan nation in the 1980s.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, ‘It is a big step towards the health of everyone and comes at a time when Nepal accelerates its fight against other neglected tropical diseases as well’
A letter acknowledging the validation was presented to Nepal’s Minister of State for Health and Population, Padma Kumari Aryal yesterday by Singh and Ghebreyesus at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, where the World Health Assembly is in session.
The Nepal government, through the ministry of water supply and sanitation, provided incentives to local communities and districts to build and maintain latrines, measures that were crucial to improve sanitation and reduce the disease carrying flies. The national trachoma programme in that country also collaborated with the ministry of education to include a module on trachoma in the school curriculum.