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HEALTH PROGRAMS

Trachoma Elimination

AHCSA is responsible for managing the Trachoma Elimination program by establishing the geographic extent of endemic trachoma in South Australia, through screening in several Aboriginal communities in SA.

The aim is to reduce the prevalence and transmission of active trachoma by undertaking comprehensive screening for active trachoma in all children aged 1-14 years annually in communities where trachoma is endemic and ensuring that all individuals and families requiring treatment are treated according to the Guidelines for the public health management of Trachoma in Australia.

The Trachoma Elimination Program will support the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and the health professionals to develop processes to ensure that adults aged over 40 are screened for trichiasis.

Trachoma is a contagious infection of the eye by specific strains of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. The strains of Chlamydia that cause trachoma differ from the genital strains. The C. trachomatis serotypes usually responsible for trachoma are A, B, Ba and C.

 Public health priority

Australia is the only developed country in which trachoma is endemic. Australia is a signatory to the World Health Organisation (WHO) agreement to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020.

“Approximately 200,000 Aboriginal children suffer with Trachoma in Australia and Aboriginal people are also at increased risk of developing avoidable blindness and vision loss and are less likely to visit eye health care practitioners than other Australians.”

Today trachoma is known to be endemic in the Aboriginal communities of South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia particularly within the rural remote and far remote communities.

In line with the WHO and the Governments guidelines for the public health management of trachoma in Australia, the AHCSA Trachoma Elimination Program aim is to ensure trachoma control activities are integrated both within primary health care activities provided by ACCHSs and within other eye health activities.

To achieve this objective AHCSA will follow the WHO’s recommended strategies and work in partnership with CHSA, the ACCHS’s in South Australia and continue to build upon the strong relationships already established with other eye health, Government and non-Government agencies.

 

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