Trachoma still occurs in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We work with the affected states and territories to identify, treat and prevent this condition. We also report to the World Health Organization’s program to eradicate trachoma across the world.
About our work
Trachoma is a preventable eye infection that can lead to blindness.
We have signed an agreement with 4 states and territories where this condition occurs. The agreement supports activities to find, screen, treat, manage and prevent trachoma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We also report on the incidence of trachoma in at-risk communities to the World Health Organization’s Alliance for Global Elimination of Trachoma. This alliance aims to eliminate trachoma across the world.
Why it is important
Trachoma is preventable, and Australia is the only developed country in the world where it still occurs.
We are making some headway. The national trachoma prevalence rate in screened children aged 5 to 9 fell from 14% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2019.
Our work aims to:
- understand where trachoma occurs in Australia
- target prevention and treatment activities to those communities most in need
- track our progress in reducing this condition over time
- eventually eliminate the condition as a public health issue in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- contribute to the World Health Organization’s work to eliminate trachoma.
Meeting our goals
This initiative meets its goals by:
- making sure health workers routinely screen and treat trachoma
- promoting good hygiene, including keeping children’s faces clean
- addressing environmental factors that contribute to the spread of trachoma
- reporting on incidence rates.
Who we work with
We fund the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia governments to:
- identify communities most at risk of trachoma
- educate at-risk communities on how to prevent trachoma
- treat people with the condition
- provide data to the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit.
We fund the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit to collect and analyse the data and produce the annual Australian Trachoma Surveillance Report.
For more information, read the:
- Australian Trachoma Surveillance Reports
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia’s National guidelines for the public health management of trachoma in Australia, which guides the work.