As officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), Saudi Arabia has now eliminated trachoma — the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide — as a public health problem.
The elimination of trachoma in Saudi Arabia is largely thanks to the integration of a national eye care program with primary health care services and through cross-sector collaboration, such as the educational and agricultural sectors, among others.
“This is a remarkable achievement that has saved people from preventable visual impairment or blindness. It is about improving quality of life and well-being,” said WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari. “Such success stories are encouraging and help to eliminate more diseases in our region.”
Saudi Arabia joins 11 other countries — Cambodia, China, Iran, Laos, Gambia, Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, and Oman — in the elimination of trachoma, according to the WHO’s standards. The progress being made against trachoma and other neglected tropical diseases is allowing for a better quality of life for some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.