World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Malawi as having eliminated trachoma—a bacterial eye infection that can cause irreversible blindness if untreated—as a public health problem.
Malawi becomes the first country in southern Africa and the fifth in Africa to achieve this significant milestone.
WHO made the declaration in a published statement on its website on Thursday.
The statement noted Malawi has been known to be endemic to trachoma since the 1980s. But the disease only received due attention in 2008 following a survey conducted in support of the WHO and Sight savers, a non-governmental organization.
Reacting to the development, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera in a statement paid special tribute to community health workers, many of them women, whom he said played an instrumental role in freeing millions of citizens from the misery caused by these diseases.
Chakwera said he hopes such an achievement would be replicated in the fight against other NTDs like scabies, schistosomiasis, and river blindness.