A good problem: why new training methods are needed to eliminate trachoma | Blogs

However, thanks to incredible progress toward the global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem, raters are increasingly less likely to find enough clinical cases in many communities to provide them with hands-on clinical experience. It’s a good problem to have, as it’s a sign that these public health efforts are showing tremendous impact. As we plan for the future, we need to ensure we can train healthcare workers without relying on finding trachoma in the field.

In July 2023, Tropical Data introduced a new training approach that can solve this problem. We have moved to a new curriculum in which we use more than a decade of clinical trachoma photographs from around the world when training healthcare workers to identify signs of trachoma.

Students will now be shown a variety of photographs and tested with different types of assessment methods, so clinical diagnosis will remain standardized. However, the training program will not be limited exclusively to classroom learning, as participants will still be expected to demonstrate clinical eye examination skills on live patients of all ages before becoming certified as trachoma classifiers.

At a recent training event in Nairobi, Kenya, 93 health professionals came together to update their skills and provide critical feedback on this new curriculum, to ensure we maintain the highest standards for trachoma surveys for years to come. . As efforts against trachoma advance, we must ensure that healthcare workers know how to detect it, prevent it, and provide care to those affected. These skills remain essential to eliminating disease around the world, especially among groups that are often left behind when it comes to health services.

Trachoma is the main infectious cause of blindness in the world, but the goal of eliminating it is within sight. With quality survey data, trained health workers, and new resources, countries are closer than ever to ending this debilitating disease.

We need to ensure that we can train healthcare workers without relying on finding trachoma in the field.

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