Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsDr Patel: Hello and welcome to this session. Today, we're joined by Dr. Anthony Solomon, who is the medical officer for trachoma elimination programme at the World Health Organization. Welcome, Dr. Solomon. Perhaps we can start by understanding why was there a need for an international commitment?

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 secondsDr Solomon: I think we know what to do for trachoma. There are four things. Surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement. But an international commitment allows WHO to help give technical advice to member states on how those things should be implemented and to coordinate partners across the global stage. Some of those things, as you know, require cooperation between countries and between a number of different actors. Having that international commitment is important to allow that coordination to proceed.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 secondsDr Patel: What is the global elimination programme for trachoma and what do we mean by elimination?

Skip to 1 minute and 17 secondsDr Solomon: For trachoma, the agreed international goal is elimination as a public health problem by 2020. That means that our target is to ensure that by the end of December 2020, we've reduced the prevalence of trachoma to a point at which it's no longer an important cause of new blindness or visual impairment in adults and that it's no longer creating a risk for the current generation of children to go blind later in life in any population. It's important to remember that elimination of trachoma as a public health problem doesn't require a complete interruption of transmission of the infection that causes trachoma.

Skip to 1 minute and 54 secondsEven though we know that interruption of transmission is possible in certain circumstances, and in fact, it's been achieved in many rich countries like the UK and the US that used to have big trachoma problems.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 secondsDr Patel: Clearly, we're going to have quite a number of players within this trachoma programme. Who are the key stakeholders and what are their roles?

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsDr Solomon: The stakeholders, as a group, form together as the WHO alliance for the global elimination of trachoma by 2020 or the GET 2020 alliance. It's the group of organizations fighting to achieve trachoma elimination. The alliance includes endemic member states, non-governmental organizations, donors, and academics. It meets annually as a group to review and discuss progress, but the alliance is also incredibly active in a very collaborative way in between those meetings. Ministries of health of member states lead and implement their respective national elimination programmes. Academics help to generate and evaluate evidence for best practice. Donors donate. WHO forms the secretariat and provides global leadership, coordination, and monitoring. NGOs, I think, can do all of those things.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsThey can implement, they can generate evidence, they can provide and channel resources, coordinate, monitor, give input on policy, and so on. I think the best NGOs try and fill the gaps that they find in a very flexible way, gluing local efforts together. We're fortunate to have a number of those excellent NGO partners in trachoma. And the combined effort of all of those actors is helping to drive the global programme forward, now, in a very dynamic way.

Skip to 3 minutes and 34 secondsDr Patel: Thank you very much and thank you for joining us in this session.

Trachoma Action Plans

Mapping provides authorities with the evidence of where public health-level interventions are needed to eliminate trachoma. It also triggers the recognition that effective and efficient planning must be initiated at the national level. This is a critical step, creating a meaningful intervention with a purposeful national goal – to eliminate trachoma, district by district.

A national Trachoma Action Plan (TAP) is usually developed during a 5 day workshop. The workshop is participatory, which means everyone who has a stake in an intervention is given a voice to decide together and act together.

National planning is guided by local data

A Trachoma Action Plan will accomplish the following:

Outline the path to trachoma elimination (by the year 2020 or sooner)

  • Use mapping data to generate annual milestones for implementation.
  • Highlight gaps between current service delivery data and annual targets needed to reach elimination.

Develop the messages necessary for advocacy

  • Provide metrics to generate compelling statements regarding needs and benefits.
  • Clearly articulate actions and resources needed to reach elimination.

Drive stakeholder alignment

  • Bring together interested parties in a collaborative planning process.
  • Guide country leadership in critical evaluation of existing partner support and stakeholder activities.

As you watch this video ask yourself: What documents and data need to be compiled by the national trachoma coordinator (MoH level) before the TAP workshop to ensure that the workshop would be successful?

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Eliminating Trachoma

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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