Zimbabwe Among African Nations Receiving $36.5 Million Boost to Combat Trachoma Epidemic

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HARARE – In a concerted effort to combat trachoma, a debilitating eye disease prevalent across Africa, sixteen African countries, including Zimbabwe, have received a financial infusion of $36.5 million.

This significant funding injection aims to bolster the ongoing efforts to eradicate trachoma, which can lead to irreversible blindness if left untreated.

The financial support stems from the Accelerate program, initiated in 2018 as part of The Audacious Project hosted by TED, and is spearheaded by the esteemed non-profit organization, Sightsavers.

Various international donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for Zambia, alongside Sightsavers’ own contributions, have pooled resources to supercharge the organization’s commitment to ending trachoma in twelve of the supported countries by 2027.

Trachoma, initially manifesting as a bacterial infection, progresses to cause scarring of the conjunctiva and painful inward turning of eyelashes, leading to the scraping of the eye with each blink. Left untreated, it can culminate in devastating loss of eyesight.

Mr. Peter Bare, the country director for Sightsavers Zimbabwe, underscored the profound impact of trachoma on individuals, stating, “Trachoma is a horrific disease that stops people from earning a living, caring for their families, or going to school. It is almost like you have sand or even thorns in your eyes.”

Sightsavers, with a track record of collaboration with governments in over 30 countries to control and eliminate various diseases, remains at the forefront of the fight against trachoma.

Through concerted efforts and strategic partnerships, the organization aims to alleviate the burden of trachoma and improve the quality of life for affected communities across Africa.