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Kenya, Uganda launch synchronized mass delivery of drugs targeting trachoma

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Kenya, Uganda launch synchronized mass delivery of drugs targeting trachoma

We need to put in place collaborative mechanisms to ensure that prevalence stays where treatment led it to.

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 22, 2021 / APO Group / –

The fight against blindness-causing trachoma received a boost on Thursday following the launch of a cross-border mass drug administration exercise by Kenya and Uganda.

The exercise, which was launched at Alakas Primary School in Uganda’s Amudat District, aims to synchronize drug administration between residents of West Pokot and Turkana counties with neighboring Uganda in the goal of completely eradicating the disease caused by bacteria that attack the inside surfaces of the eyelids.

Speaking at the launch of the exercise, Ugandan Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs Dr Maria Goretti welcomed the latest initiative, saying it will ensure communities living along the Kenya shared border -Uganda are getting the treatment they desperately need. Goretti said previous efforts where respective governments have carried out mass drug administration at different times have seen part of the local community miss out as they are largely pastoralists moving across the two nations. in search of pasture.

Speaking at the same event, the head of the division of vector-borne and neglected tropical diseases at the Department of Health, Wycliffe Omondi, said there was a need to employ a multi-faceted approach in combating the disease. disease if the region is to tackle the trachoma challenge comprehensively. . “Mass drug administration in and of itself is not the silver bullet. We need to put in place collaborative mechanisms to ensure that prevalence stays where treatment has taken it. He observed.

According to Dr Teshome Gebre Kanno, regional director of the International Trachoma Initiative for Africa, regional governments must give the disease due attention through a collaborative approach without political borders. Sentiments echoed by West Pokot County Health and Sanitation Director General Christine Apokoreng, who said such synchronized and coordinated efforts would ensure optimal results.

This year (2021), the national trachoma elimination program aims to treat 2,826,638 people in seven counties of Baringo, Isiolo, Kajiado, Narok, Samburu, Turkana and West Pokot.

Trachoma is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide.

In Kenya, trachoma is endemic in 12 counties with a combined population of around eleven million people. More than 53,200 Kenyans have already been blinded by trachoma, but thanks to the consistent implementation of the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in the country, the situation has registered considerable progress.

Since 2007, Kenya has received at least 15 million donations of Zithromax antibiotics from the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) for use in MDA campaigns with a market value of 30 billion shillings.

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