Evaluation of the prevalence of trachoma 12 years after baseline surveys in Kidal Region, Mali
Objective After prevalence surveys in all eight regions, Mali started a national programme to control trachoma in 1998. In the sparsely populated desert region of Kidal, where active trachoma prevalence was 46.2% in children under 10, no interventions beyond routine eye-care services were implemented. We estimated the prevalence of trachoma in Kidal, 12 years after baseline mapping surveys, to determine whether interventions to control trachoma were warranted.
Methods A total of 2165 individuals from 477 households were examined for clinical trachoma signs in a cluster survey using the WHO simplified grading system. Individual and household risk factors for trachoma were assessed.
Results The prevalence of follicular trachomatous inflammation (TF) in children 1–9 years of age was 15.6% (95% CI 11.8–19.5%). Trachomatous trichiasis (TT) was observed in 4 persons for an overall prevalence in all ages of 0.16% (95% CI 0.0–0.35%). Estimated household latrine coverage in the region was 33.1% (95% CI 14.0–52.2%). Residents of 52.8% of surveyed households reported access to a water source outside geographical boundaries of their communities.
Conclusions In the absence of control interventions, the prevalence of clinical signs of trachoma among children was substantially lower than estimates 12 years earlier. The current prevalence of active trachoma remains above the threshold adopted by WHO, yet there is little evidence of chronic blinding trachoma.