In 2022, Vanuatu eliminated trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. Above, a young student in Rangusuksuk, Pentecost Island. ©UNICEF/Bobby Shing
This year, WHO worked with countries and other partners to fight outbreaks and eliminate diseases, while building toward the goal of health for all.
We have selected a few news items from countries as 2022 bright spots:
Milestones: Malawi and Vanuatu eliminate blinding eye infection
Trachoma infection mainly affects children in underserved, remote rural communities. Above: children in Malawi. ©WHO
In 2022, Malawi became the first country in Southern Africa to eliminate trachoma, and Vanuatu became the first Pacific Island country to do so.
“This is a proud moment for Vanuatu,” said Minister of Health Bruno Leingkone. “This combined effort has already saved hundreds of people from lifelong blindness.”
Malawi’s success is the culmination of its multi-pronged Trachoma Action Plan, launched in 2014 and supported by donors, among them Sightsavers and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
The two countries join 13 others in the achievement: Cambodia, China, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Gambia, Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Togo.
Trachoma is the second neglected tropical disease to be eliminated in the archipelago nation of 83 islands, after lymphatic filariasis in 2016. Above: students on Pentecost Island. ©UNICEF/Bobby Shing
See more about Malawi and
Related news: WHO Director-General congratulates Togo on becoming the first West African country to eliminate four neglected tropical diseases
Orinoco expedition brings vital health services deep into the Amazon
A PAHO team treks to isolated communities in Venezuela to provide health services. ©PAHO
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) makes three boat excursions a year deep into Venezuela’s rainforest to bring vaccinations and other health services to 22 indigenous ethnic groups.
On its September trip, the PAHO team reached 126 communities and administered thousands of vaccinations for polio, measles/rubella and COVID-19.
“Most people don’t know that inside Venezuela there are communities that are eight days’ travel away (from health services),” said Vicente Baretta, who supported PAHO in the expedition. “Organizing a journey like this presents problems
that cannot be imagined from the outside, such as the need to buy new freezers for each trip, because fifteen days spent wobbling around in a boat usually renders them unfit for use again.”
Some successes in 2022 from WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region
A boy displaced by floods in Pakistan visits