11 million Zambians at risk of contracting trachoma – clinical officer

By Staff Reporter

ELEVEN million Zambians are at risk of contracting trachoma, an eye infectious disease, Kalabo district clinical officer Sylvester Kasonde has disclosed.

Kasonde however, said trachoma prevalence rate in Kalabo district had dropped from 42.1 per cent in 2012 to around 12.2 per cent in 2019 due  to mass drug administration exercises conducted across the district in 2016 and 2017.

Speaking during a trachoma elimination district task force meeting held in Kalabo Council Chamber, Kasonde said the disease is a major cause of infectious, but preventable blindness worldwide especially in developing nations.

He said 46 districts in Zambia are endemic of trachoma, 8 million need treatment and 11 million at risk of infection.

He explained that trachoma is a bacterial infection that leads to chronic eye inflammation and that transmission occurs mainly among children and from children to women caring for them.

ZANIS reports that Kasonde said 41 million people across the world have active trachoma while, 1.8 people million are visually impaired.

He observed that the social-economic burden of trachoma on affected individuals and communities is enormous in terms of lost productivity from blindness, visual impairment and care for the blind.

Speaking at the same meeting, district health director, Patson Mukubesa said the drug administration exercise will be conducted across the district in order to consolidate the gains, reduce active infections and control transmission.

He stressed that trachoma is a public health problem because it affects morbidity.

This was contained in a speech delivered on his behalf by Kalabo district public health officer, Maimpa Mumba.

Earlier, Kalabo District Commissioner, Fridah Luhila said government was committed to eliminating trachoma by the year 2021 through strategies such as mass drug administration.

Luhila, who is also Trachoma Elimination District Task Force chairperson, said the disease was among the top communicable diseases which government was fighting to eliminate.