Mass Distribution of Medicines for Trachoma Launched in Niassa Province: The Beginning of the End for Trachoma in Mozambique

Date: 
July 10, 2013

Last week, ENVISION supported Mozambique’s first Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for trachoma in Majune district, Niassa.  Approximately 461,395 people received doses of Zithromax® and Tetracycline Eye Ointment through this MDA, reaching 93% of the population in ten districts of Niassa. These medicines are administered to prevent trachoma, a bacterial infection of the eye that, upon repeated infection, can cause the eyelids to scar and ultimately turn inward (known as trichiasis). Blinding trachoma is the leading infectious cause of preventable blindness in the world.

A community health volunteer administers Zithromax to children, Niassa province, Mozambique

Niassa was one of the first provinces to be mapped for trachoma in Mozambique and has a prevalence of active trachoma exceeding 30%, making the province eligible for treatment with Zithromax®, donated by Pfizer through the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI). Tetracycline Eye Ointment was procured through the USAID-funded ENVISION project, managed by RTI International.

Active community involvement and radio messaging resulted in a high turnout for the launch and during the week of administration. Men, women, and children gathered to participate in the administration and learn about trachoma. Messages reinforced best practices for the prevention of trachoma, encouraging improved facial cleanliness and detection of early signs of trichiasis for surgical treatment in a local health unit

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Community using dose poles to determine proper dosage of Zithromax, Niassa Province, Mozambique 

The launch was attended by the National Director of Public Health, the National NTD Coordinator, the Governor of Majune district, the Head Doctor in Lichinga, two USAID Representatives, the RTI ENVISION Resident Program Advisor and Logistics Coordinator, amongst others. 

 “I want to thank everyone for the support given to us. I hope that we maintain this collaboration to improve the access of health services to the Mozambican population” said the Director of Public Health, Dr. Mouzinho Saide. The MDA was administered by the Ministry of Health in Mozambique with technical and financial support from the ENVISION Project, led by RTI International and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). RTI International is the lead for the ENVISION project in Mozambique.  The work has been supported by generous donations of Zithromax® from Pfizer Inc., managed by the International Trachoma Initiative. Through this collaboration, ENVISION will support the Ministry of Health in annual Mass Drug Administration, including six remaining districts in Niassa during 2014 and additional provinces after disease prevalence mapping is completed.

 

 

Photos by: Elias Mandevo Chissaque

USAID from the American People   RTI International