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Eliminating Trachoma

Discover how communities and experts are joining together to end trachoma disease across 44 endemic countries.

8,487 enrolled on this course

Map of the world highlighting those countries affected by trachoma

Eliminating Trachoma

8,487 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore how the trachoma disease is being combated across the globe

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 leading cause of blindness in the world. Based on 2020 data, it is estimated that 137 million people are at risk of trachoma in 44 endemic countries.

On this course, you’ll explore the history of trachoma, how it is graded in individuals, as well as studying the decision making involved in eradicating this tropical disease.

You’ll also discover how trachoma elimination strategies are implemented across the globe.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Trachoma 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 seconds Implementation 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

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • 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.

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?

Associate Professor in International Eye Health. Ophthalmologist and Educator, focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness. Academic lead for the Open education for Eye Health

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, focusing on research to improving the management of TT.

I am an Associate Professor at LSHTM and Chief Scientist for Tropical Data. My research interests are NTDs (especially trachoma) and sexually transmitted infections.

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


For the first two months. Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$129/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 8 Jan 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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