Nepal has become the first country in south-east Asia to eliminate trachoma, world’s leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Trachoma was the second leading cause of preventable blindness in the Himalayan nation in the 1980s.
In 2002, the Government of Nepal had stepped up the efforts to eliminate trachoma with the establishment of a national trachoma programme. The prevalence of active (inflammatory) trachoma in the country fell by 40 per cent following the implementation of sustained control activities from 2002 to 2005, the WHO statement said.
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, the statement said.
In 1998, the World Health Assembly had resolved to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem.
Trachoma is a chronic infective disease of the eye and is the leading cause of infective blindness globally. Trachoma is a disease of poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation.
It affects the conjunctiva under the eyelids. Repeated infections cause scarring leading to in-turning of the eyelashes and eyelids. This further causes damage to the cornea and blindness.