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Online course

Eliminating Trachoma

Discover how communities and experts are joining together to end trachoma disease across 42 endemic countries by the year 2020.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Eliminating Trachoma

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Why join the course?

An estimated 200 million people are at risk of trachoma in 42 countries. 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.
Download video: standard or HD

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 seconds This 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 seconds This 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 seconds On 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.

What topics will you cover?

  • Natural history, clinical signs and grading of trachoma
  • Evidence from global mapping of trachoma
  • Planning and coordination of trachoma mapping and control activities at community, district, national and global levels
  • Development of a Trachoma Action Plan
  • Public health approach for the control of trachoma
  • How epidemiological data provides guidance for interventions and setting local targets
  • Practical approaches for the four elements of the SAFE strategy to control trachoma: surgery, mass distribution of antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement
  • S: strategies for community mobilisation, preparing patients, selecting surgical methods, managing post-surgical trichiasis and monitoring outcomes and outputs towards elimination
  • A: selection of antibiotics, distribution pathways, microplanning local campaigns, addressing barriers and managing coverage
  • F&E: Understanding influences on behaviour, situation analysis for F&E, assessing sanitation hardware requirements, identifying and engaging with appropriate stakeholders for water, sanitation and hygiene activities
  • Assessing the validation process for trachoma elimination
  • Monitoring and evaluation indicators of SAFE interventions for impact and surveillance surveys
  • Completion of the WHO dossier to validate the elimination of trachoma at national level

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Assess the natural history, clinical signs and grading of trachoma
  • Describe the evidence from global mapping of trachoma
  • Reflect on the public health approach for the control of trachoma
  • Evaluate the planning and coordination of trachoma mapping and control activities at community, district, national and global levels
  • Discuss how epidemiological data provides guidance for interventions and setting local targets
  • Interpret, and elaborate for the local setting, each of the SAFE strategy components to manage and control trachoma
  • Apply monitoring and evaluation indicators of SAFE interventions for the validation and certification of elimination of trachoma at district and national level

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.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Daksha Patel

Lecturer in International Eye Health. Ophthalmologist and Educator, working with the International Centre for Eye health (ICEH), focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness.

Allen Foster

Professor in International Eye Health, Ophthalmologist and Educator, working with the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH), 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.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $64 you’ll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

A Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your Linkedin or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Trachoma: An introduction
    Trachoma: An introduction
    video

    Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness. Watch this animated presentation to learn about its natural history and clinical features.

  • The international commitment to eliminate trachoma
    The international commitment to eliminate trachoma
    video

    Dr Anthony Solomon from the WHO discusses how the GET2020 alliance works collaboratively to guide international efforts to end blinding trachoma.

  • A visually impaired man carrying his farm tools.
    An introduction to trichiasis
    article

    This article explains how trichiasis is caused, what the symptoms are, who is affected by it and how we can prevent blindness from trichiasis