In the many end-of-year roundups of annual global health achievements, you may have seen that Laos and Cambodia have both recently eliminated trachoma, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) which can lead to blindness. In a national celebration last week, Ambassador Rena Bitter, U.S. Ambassador to Laos, offered her congratulations to the government of Laos on "achieving this wonderful milestone—eliminating trachoma as an endemic threat."
For Laos and Cambodia, this milestone signifies that future generations will be protected from a blinding disease, and resources that would have gone toward treating new infections can be used elsewhere. In a global sense, validation of these countries—only the fourth and fifth countries to achieve trachoma elimination worldwide—provides important evidence that elimination is possible. [Read more]