Abstract: Trachoma is the leading cause of infectious blindness worldwide, afflicting some of the poorest regions of the globe. Australia is the only developed country in the world whose population still suffers from blinding trachoma, with prevalence rates as high as 40% in certain parts of the Northern Territory. This is in spite of the decade-long availability of a highly effective, single-dose treatment (azithromycin) provided without cost through remote Indigenous health clinics and regional population health units. In 1997, WHO established the Alliance for Global Elimination of Trachoma by the Year 2020 (GET2020). The strategy uses the acronym SAFE for four inter-related public health interventions: surgery for trichiasis, antibiotics for active trachoma, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements. The Australian government formulated the first guidelines for the public health management of trachoma in Australia in 2006, utilising government-run regional population health units, working with primary health care services and Aboriginal community representatives. Nevertheless, subsequent studies have shown trachoma prevalence persists, with the disease endemic in 65 of 123 communities examined, and affecting 14% of the child population. Therefore, urgent and sustained public health interventions are required to address the socioeconomic deprivation perpetuating trachoma in Australia.
To cite this article: Atik, Alp. Trachoma in Australia - Eye to Eye with Reality [online]. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, Vol. 34, No. 5, Aug 2010: 20-22.
[cited 02 May 16].