Prevalence of trachoma in the Afar Region of Ethiopia: results of seven population-based surveys from the Global Trachoma Mapping Project

31 Dec 2018
Negash K, Macleod C, Adamu Y, Ahmed M, Ibrahim M, Ali M, Haileselassie T, Willis R, Chu BK, Dejene M, Asrat A, Flueckiger RM, Pavluck AL, Solomon Aw & for the Global Trachoma Mapping Project

Purpose: Trachoma is to be eliminated as a public health problem by 2020. To help the process of planning interventions where needed, and to provide a baseline for later comparison, we set out to complete the map of trachoma in Afar, Ethiopia, by estimating trachoma prevalence in evaluation units (EUs) of grouped districts (“woredas”).

Methods: We conducted seven community-based surveys from August to October 2013, using standardised Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP) survey methodologies.

Results: We enumerated 5065 households and 18,177 individuals in seven EUs covering 19 of Afar’s 29 woredas; the other ten were not accessible. 16,905 individuals (93.0%) were examined, of whom 9410 (55.7%) were female. One EU incorporating four woredas (Telalak, Dalefage, Dewe, Hadele Ele) was shown to require full implementation of the SAFE strategy for three years before impact survey, with a trachomatous inflammation-follicular (TF) prevalence in 1–9-year-olds of 17.1% (95%CI 9.4–25.5), and a trichiasis prevalence in adults aged ≥15 years of 1.2% (95%CI 0.6–2.0). Five EUs, covering 13 woredas (Berahle, Aba’ala, Dupti, Kurri, Elidihare, Ayesayeta, Afamboo, Bure Mudaitu, Gewane, Amibara, Dulecho, Dalolo, and Konebo), had TF prevalences in children of 5–9.9% and need one round of azithromycin mass treatment and implementation of the F and E components of SAFE before re-survey; three of these EUs had trichiasis prevalences in adults ≥0.2%. The final EU (Mile, Ada’ar) had a sub-threshold TF prevalence and a trichiasis prevalence in adults just >0.2%.

Conclusion: Trachoma is a public health problem in Afar, and implementation of the SAFE strategy is required.