In May 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that Togo had eradicated trachoma as a public health problem.
This is the third country in the WHO Africa region to reach this important milestone, following Ghana (June 2018) and The Gambia (April 2021).
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Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by the infection of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which can sometimes lead to blindness. The infection route is contact infection through the fingers and flies that touch the secretions from the infected person's eyes and nose. Environmental risk factors for trachoma infections include unsanitary conditions, overcrowded households, and lack of access to water and adequate sanitation.
Trachoma is an endemic disease that most often affects remote rural areas that are not well serviced. Infection mainly affects children and decreases with age. However, repeated infections in early childhood are known to cause late complications years to decades later. In adults, women are up to four times more susceptible to trachoma blindness complications than men, primarily due to close contact with infected children.
Repeated infections in childhood cause scarring on the inside of the upper eyelid. As a result, the eyelashes on the upper eyelids become visible, and you may experience a condition called "trachomatous trichiasis (TT)" that causes intense pain each time you blink. TT can be treated surgically, but if left untreated, it can damage the cornea and lead to visual impairment and blindness.