Colombia Trains Ophthalmic Surgeons on Techniques for Treating Patients Suffering from Trachoma

personas practicando CX

Bogota, October 11, 2023.- The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Colombia organized a training on surgical techniques for patients with ocular damage caused by trachoma. The training was framed by the initiative to improve the health of communities, women, and children by eliminating trachoma as a public health problem in the Region of the Americas and was implemented in partnership with PAHO and the government of Canada.

practica de Cx

Trachoma is a public health problem in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru. For its elimination, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the SAFE strategy, an integrated package of interventions that includes surgery to prevent visual impairment and blindness, antibiotics to reduce infection, facial hygiene to prevent infection, and the improvement of environmental conditions to reduce the transmission of infection.

The training, held in September, was attended by delegates from the ministries of health of Guatemala and Colombia, ophthalmic surgeons from both countries, and PAHO’s technical advisors from Colombia and Guatemala, as well as its headquarters in the United States.

The workshop was inaugurated by PAHO's Regional Advisor on Epidemiology of Neglected Infectious Diseases, Martha Saboyá, and PAHO Colombia’s Advisor on Communicable Diseases, Guillermo Gonzálvez, who took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of trachoma elimination in the region.

"This infectious eye disease is the leading cause of blindness among women in poor and remote areas of Latin America. Thanks to the partnership with the government of Canada, PAHO will expand technical cooperation in ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. We will be able to strengthen surveillance and expand treatment of the disease to reach about 6 million people in the next five years," Saboyá said.


During the day, theoretical and practical components were included; The latter consisted of an experimental surgery session with simulators. Assistant surgeons were trained in surgical techniques recommended by WHO and in the management of complex or relapsing cases, known as Postoperative Trachomatous Trichiasis (PTT).

Neglected infectious diseases, including trachoma, are a diverse group of 20 parasitic, bacterial and fungal diseases that have a disproportionate health impact on vulnerable populations, including ethnic minorities. These risk factors include poverty, income inequality, lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation, as well as barriers to education and health services, among others. Eliminating trachoma and other neglected infectious diseases is part of PAHO’s initiative that seeks to eliminate more than 30 diseases and related conditions by 2030 (Elimination Initiative).