IMA World Health has been working in rural Tanzania since 2009 as part of the global effort to eliminate trachoma, providing essential drugs through mass campaigns and supporting the Ministry of Health to provide surgery to those with advanced disease. Women are four times as likely to need surgery as a result of trachoma. (Photo by IMA World Health staff)
IMA World Health has been working in rural Tanzania since 2009 as part of the global effort to eliminate trachoma, providing essential drugs through mass campaigns and supporting the Ministry of Health to provide surgery to those with advanced disease. Women are four times as likely to need surgery as a result of trachoma. (Photo by IMA World Health staff)

By Kara Eberle
IMA World Health 

F

or International Women’s Day 2018, IMA World Health joins Sightsavers and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control to highlight the exceptional contribution of women to the global program to eliminate trachoma.

In the Mtwara region of Tanzania, IMA is the lead implementing partner on the SAFE project, which is coordinated by Helen Keller International. The project follows the World Health Organization-endorsed SAFE strategy—Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial Cleanliness and Environmental Improvements—to address the underlying causes of trachoma. IMA addresses the backlog of trichiasis trachomatous cases, in which eyelashes have turned inward and scrape the surface of the eye. In such cases, surgery is required to relieve pain and prevent blindness.

Women are 4 times more likely to need surgery as a result of trachoma, according to ICTC.

In addition, women are more likely to suffer bilateral TT, which means they need surgery on both eyes, said Alex S. Msumanje, program manager for the SAFE Project in Tanzania.

Relieving pain and preventing blindness enables women to lead productive lives. Empowering women to participate in their communities is not only important for trachoma elimination, it also increases female leadership and reduces gender inequality.

IMA is committed to ensuring some of the most vulnerable women in Tanzania have access to the services that improve their health and well-being.

Women are more likely to suffer bilateral TT, which requires surgery on both eyes.
In rural areas of Tanzania, women are more likely to suffer bilateral TT, which requires surgery on both eyes.
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