Eradicating Trachoma, Once and For All

UCSF Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology

Trachoma was once the world's leading cause of blindness, but with a three-fold approach from the University of California San Francisco Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology, it will become the second human disease to be completely eradicated.

Last Updated: January 2023
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  • United States of America
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Niger
  • South Sudan
  • Children (3-9 yrs.)
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • People with diseases and illnesses
  • 1. No poverty
  • 3. Good health and well-being
  • 6. Clean water and sanitation

Executive Summary

Trachoma is a bacterial disease of the eye leading to irreversible blindness and affecting nearly 2 million people worldwide. A decade of intervention has resulted in trachoma control in the majority of previously endemic regions, but progress has stalled in some difficult-to-control regions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mathematical models and clinical trials show that existing strategies will not work in these “hotspots.” Unless infection is rapidly eliminated in remaining areas, antimicrobial resistance could derail progress. Eradication of trachoma—the permanent reduction of cases to zero—is a sustainable solution that has now become achievable.

The University of California San Francisco Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology proposes to use novel methods and technology to eliminate infection from these hard-to-treat regions. Through intensified and more frequent treatment, we will eliminate infection among “super-spreaders” to prevent further transmission. Finally, we will build new global labs for monitoring and rapid case detection. Through this new approach, we will eradicate trachoma forever.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

UCSF Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology

Organization Headquarters
San Francisco County, California, United States of America
Organization ID
Number of Full-time Employees
10 to 25
Annual Operating Budget
$50.1 to 100 Million

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

Organizations may provide budget and employee data based on this proposal or the organization as a whole. For more information on this proposal or organization, please email us.

2021 Swift Grant Awardee

Helen Keller International was selected as a 2021 Swift Grant awardee in partnership with the Himalayan Cataract Project, Inc. The Swift Grants fund provides small grants to Bold Solutions Network members for collaborative projects.

The two leading organizations offering support for the sight-impaired will team up to provide cataracts screenings, training for medical personnel, and subsidized surgeries to reduce preventable cases of blindness in Tanzania. The team will use this as a pilot program in the hope of scaling the model across Sub-Saharan Africa.


The pandemic caused many disruptions in the delivery of azithromycin for trachoma control among endemic regions. These disruptions may ultimately result in a resurgence of infection, leading to more blindness among the most at-risk populations. The Proctor Foundation has since developed a simple model to predict areas where trachoma control is most impacted by pandemic-related disruptions. Our model provides a framework for future treatment distribution among subcriticial, critical, and supercritical transmission areas. Community specific control strategies may accelerate trachoma elimination in the hardest to reach regions. We remain optimistic that global trachoma eradication is an obtainable goal moving forward by utilizing new strategies learned from the pandemic. And we remain committed to the research and prevention of blindness worldwide.

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