Aims: We sought to evaluate trachoma prevalence in all suspected- endemic areas of Benin.
Methods: We conducted population-based surveys covering 26 districts grouped into 11 evaluation units (EUs), using a two-stage, systematic and random, cluster sampling design powered at EU level. In each EU, 23 villages were systematically selected with population proportional to size; 30 households were selected from each village using compact segment sampling. In selected households, we examined all consenting residents aged one year or above for trichiasis, trachomatous inflammation - follicular (TF), and trachomatous inflammation - intense. We calculated the EU-level backlog of trichiasis and delineated the ophthalmic workforce in each EU using local interviews and telephone surveys.
Results: At EU-level, the TF prevalence in 1-9-year-olds ranged from 1.9 to 24.0%, with four EUs (incorporating eight districts) demonstrating prevalences >= 5%. The prevalence of trichiasis in adults aged 15+ years ranged from 0.1 to 1.9%. In nine EUs (incorporating 19 districts), the trichiasis prevalence in adults was >= 0.2%. An estimated 11,457 people have trichiasis in an area served by eight ophthalmic clinical officers.
Conclusion: In northern Benin, over 8000 people need surgery or other interventions for trichiasis to reach the trichiasis elimination threshold prevalence in each EU, and just over one million people need a combination of antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement for the purposes of trachoma's elimination as a public health problem. The current distribution of ophthalmic clinical officers does not match surgical needs.