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Online course

Eliminating Trachoma

Discover how communities and experts are joining together to end trachoma disease across over 43 endemic countries by year 2020.

Why join the course?

Based on 2018 data, it is estimated that 150+ million people are at risk of trachoma in 40+ endemic countries. This represents significant progress made in recent years, an almost 25% reduction in the number of people at risk. The action towards eliminating trachoma taken is on the right path but it needs to be reach everyone! Trachoma is a neglected tropical disease. It occurs in some of the poorest populations with limited access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare, and is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. At present, we have a unique opportunity to eliminate this disease.

This course aims to inform and support the personnel implementing and managing trachoma programmes at a district and community level. Additionally, the course will provide insights from stakeholders, experts and professionals as they share successes and resolve challenges to achieve elimination of trachoma.

Understand trachoma as a disease

This course will teach you to evaluate the natural history, clinical signs, and grading of trachoma in individuals, and map the burden of disease at a community level.

Explore the epidemiology of trachoma

We will investigate and provide guidance on how epidemiological data informs the selection of interventions at local and national level, and how it informs decision making on the path to eradicating the disease.

Discover how trachoma elimination strategies are implemented

Appropriate interventions to eliminate trachoma are encapsulated by the acronym ‘SAFE’, which represents surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement. We will consider what it takes to deliver the SAFE strategy in trachoma-endemic regions with agreed best practices, and how to best monitor and evaluate these activities for improved effectiveness.

Throughout the course we will use a variety of learning tools and provide opportunities to interact and learn through online conversations with peers and educators from across the world. A wide range of experts will be taking part, including:

  • Staff from the World Health Organization
  • Academics from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Stakeholders from NGOs
  • Experts from water, sanitation and hygiene, and
  • People active at the community level.
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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsTrachoma is an old disease. It's been recognized for thousands of years as a cause of blindness in people. It's a horrible way to go blind. Socioeconomic development resulted in trachoma's disappearance from Europe and North America in the 1900's but it continues today in the poorest families of the poorest communities in the world. We now have the tools and the knowledge of where trachoma causes blindness to be able to confidently plan for its elimination as a public health problem by the year 2020. We have a global district-by-district map that is nearly 100% complete, and an intervention strategy known as the SAFE strategy, that's proven to reduce disease prevalence. That strategy has four components. Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 secondsThis course will give you details about each of those components, and a lot more.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsImplementation of the SAFE strategy in endemic countries like Ethiopia can only be done through a team approach and strong involvement of the affected communities. On reaching these remote, and often underserved communities, we need to build a relationship to deliver surgical and medical treatment, but also to advance the local access to water and improved sanitation. Engagement with political leaders and community elders, and the empowerment of women, is crucial for the success of trachoma control. And coordinating from village, to national, regional, and global level, provides us with a real opportunity to eliminate blinding trachoma by the year 2020. Trachoma is linked with the launch of a thousand hospitals, including the famous Moorfields Eye Hospital here in London.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsThis practical course is for everyone involved or interested in delivering health services to eliminate blinding trachoma in the 51 most affected countries. The content is focused on the action that needs to take place at the local community level. Over five weeks, we cover essential topics such as - mapping trachoma to identify the affected communities. - Once we know this, how to implement SAFE strategies at that community level. - And finally, the steps to know we are on the right track to validate and certify successful trachoma elimination. Throughout the course, we use a variety of learning tools and provide opportunities to interact and learn through online conversations with peers and educators from all around the world.

Skip to 3 minutes and 10 secondsOn behalf of people living in endemic communities please let me thank you for taking the time to start this course and urge you to complete it. I really hope that you find it useful.

When would you like to start?

Who is the course for?

This practical course is for everyone involved, or interested in, delivering health services to eliminate blinding trachoma. It may be of interest to those working in or studying medicine, and will be of special use to those working in neglected tropical diseases (NTD), public health or ophthalmology. Content is focused on the action that needs to take place at a local community level.

What do people say about this course?

The course has given me a new perspective on trachoma. I think it should be recommended for all ophthalmologists, especially in areas at risk. I've learned a lot about mapping trachoma and I'm eager to learn even more.


This is indeed a mind blowing course. I have been able to identify the causative agents, how to diagnose trachoma and strategic plans to eradicate trachoma. Global mapping cannot be over emphasised as it is the only way for us to identify or pinpoint areas that are trachoma endemic.


Who will you learn with?

Dr Daksha Patel ( Lead Educator)

Assistant Professor in International Eye Health. Ophthalmologist and Educator, focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness

Who developed the course?

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

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  • Access to this course for 7 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes


  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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