Kenya, Tanzania launch mass drug supply to curb trachoma

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness around the globe.

In Summary

• The launch took place at Olposimoru center, Narok West sub county is a collaboration targeting cross border pastoral communities.

• Drug administration will be conducted for five days with a target estimated at 1,324,392 beneficiaries.

Officials at the launch of mass drug administration in Narok County on July 12.
Officials at the launch of mass drug administration in Narok County on July 12.
Image: PSCU

Kenyan and Tanzanian governments have launched a mass drug administration exercise across their borders.

The joint launch which took place at Olposimoru center on Tuesday Narok West sub county on Tuesday is a collaboration between ministries of health targeting cross border pastoral communities. 

"The mass drug administration to the Maa community living across the two East African neighbours forms an effort to fight blindness-causing trachoma," Head, Division of Vector-borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases Wycliffe Omondi said.

 Omondi said synchronizing drug administration across the two countries will prove to be the most effective way to completely deal with trachoma.

He added other measures such as hygiene and environmental cleanliness will help in dealing with the problem.

"The Govt is going out of its way to provide medication to community members & I urge them to take the medication," he said.

Tanzania’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) program manager, George Kambona, said previous efforts by the two countries to deal with the problem independently did not bear fruits.

Kambona added drug administration will be conducted for five days with a target estimated at 1,324,392 beneficiaries.

"This will be across four counties of Narok and Kajiado in Kenya and Longido and Ngorongoro in Tanzania," he said.

Kambona said about 228,360 people are expected to be treated in Ngorongoro, with 161,367 targeted in Longido.

He went ahead to say in Kenya, 934,665 persons are set to benefit with 576,091 people based in Narok with the other 358,574 from Kajiado County.

In Kenya, trachoma is endemic in five regions of West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo, Kajiado and Narok counties with more than 53,200 Kenyans already blind.

Kambona said the consistent implementation of mass drug administration has seen the situation improve.

Trachoma is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 20 NTDs and is the leading infectious cause of blindness across the globe.