The National Eye Health Care Programme under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, in collaboration with Sight Savers –The Gambia, last Friday concluded a two-day stakeholders’ training in preparation to submit a Trachoma Dossier to the World Health Organisation.
Trachoma is a contagious disease of the conjunctiva and cornea, caused by the gram negative bacterium Chlamydia trachomatisand characterised by inflammation, hypertrophy, and formation of granules of adenoid tissue.
It is a major cause of blindness in Asia and Africa.
Speaking at the occasion on behalf of the Director of Health Services, Modou Njai, Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, stated that The Gambia has registered tremendous achievements in the area of trachoma.
Describing the training as timely, Njai said it aims at creating more awareness on trachoma and building the capacities of health workers on health safety in general.
The Gambia, he went on, is on a right course to submit the Trachoma Dossier to the World Health Organisation in their move to certify the country as a Trachoma-free nation.
Elaborating on the rationale behind the forum, Balla Musa Joof of Sight Savers – The Gambia Office explained that The Gambia wants to report to WHO to share the strategies, achievements and challenges of the Gambia trachoma programme, in its bid to eliminate trachoma in the country.
He highlighted the aims of the training as including: to provide participants with clarity and common understanding on information to complete the Trachoma Dossier to submit to WHO; to ensure that a comprehensive and high quality dossier is prepared with the required information and to have an agreed plan timeline for submission of the WHO on the Trachoma Dossier.
Professor Robin Bailey of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine indicated that the submission is a progress and it takes time before the WHO will certify a country, but hastened to acknowledge that Gambia has been doing great in the fight against trachoma.
After the training, he went on, the country would come up with a timeline as to when to submit it to WHO.
Bakary Marong, Regional Director for Sight Savers, said due to Gambia’s progress towards trachoma-free country Sight Savers has invited some of the countries in the sub-region like Mali , Ghana and Guinea Bissau to learn best practices from The Gambia.
He assured of his institution’s commitment and promised to continue to support The Gambia National Eye Health Care Programme.
Sarjo Kanyi, Programme Manager, National Eye Health Care Programme also pledged that The Gambia will closely work with partners to ensure that trachoma is eliminated in the country.
Kanyi also affirmed that the work on the Trachoma Dossier will continue until The Gambia is certified as a trachoma-free nation.
by Momodou Faal