Sensitization programme on Trachoma held at G B Pant Hospital

Port Blair, April 1: The Opthalmic Expert from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr Praveen Vashisht informed that the more than 50% children are with active trachoma infection in Car Nicobar. Addressing the Sensitiization programme on Prevelance study and Rapid assessment of Trachoma in Car Nicobar held at GB Pant Hospital on firday, he said the ophthalmic experts from Dr R P centre for ophthalmic sciences, AIIMS along with Dr Anitha Shah, Opthalmic expert and her team recently conducted Rapid Assesment survey in Car Nicobar and found that 50.8 % children in the age group of 1-9 years had the signs of active trachoma infection.  Although the infection rate is alarming as compared to the national prevalence rate of 5.8% among the children of 1-9 years age group, it is not a public health problem and fully under control, he said. 

He emphasized that the people in the tribal islands need to be sensitized about the importance of personal hygiene in preventing the dreadful communicable diseases like Trachoma thorugh awareness programmes and personal contacts by the helath workers, since lack of personal hygiene is a major cause for spread of trachoma.  Briefing on the causes for high prevalence of trachoma in Car Nicobar, he said the life style of the Nicobarese such as livening in a joint family, keeping the animals in the houses, shaking of hands, lack of personal hygiene such as washing the hands and washing face twice in a day were the major causes for the trachoma infection in the community.   He called upon the health workers and media to create necessary awareness among the people in Nicobar about the importane of personal hygience to keep the life style communicable diseases at bay.

He also revealed that during the survey 79 adults were detected with the advanced stage of Trachoma and they are being given necessary treatment.

Speaking on the occasion, the State Programme Officer for National Programme for control of Blindness (NPCB) and Opthalmic Expert, Dr Anita Shah said soon after the results of the survey on Trachoma, the department conducted Mass Drug Adminstraion drive in Car Nicobar in three different rounds and so far more than 85 per cent of the population were covered in these intensive rounds.  She said the people were given both Azithromycin eye drops and oral tablets during these rounds to prevent the disease.  She said Trachoma is the leading cause of corneal blindness and hence the National Blindness control programme gives more thrust to preventive measures and treatment at early stage to control the disease.

The Director of Health Services, Dr S K Paul informed that the eye department conducted such an intensive prevalence study on trachoma for the first time in Car Nicobar. He lauded the excellent support rendered by the Opthalmic experts from AIIMS to condut the study followed by mass drug administration drives.  He said following the detection of Car Nicobar as hyper endemic for Trachoma, the health department has planned to conduct the survey on Trachoma in South Andaman a North and Middle Andman in cooridntion with the Dr  R P Centre, AIIMS from 31st of this month. 

A number of health workers  attended the programme