The World Health Organization announced today that trachoma, a preventable disease that causes blindness, has officially been eliminated in Benin. Thanks to organizations like Sightsavers, local government leadership, and support networks, the West African nation joins six other African countries in successfully eliminating this disease.

To date, Sightsavers, a nonprofit organization that provides health services to 30 countries, has supported the delivery of 1.5 billion treatments and helped to deliver 8.3 million eyesight operations for people from Benin and around the world, helping pave the way for this announcement.

In 2018, Global Citizens took 5 million actions to end extreme poverty in the lead up to Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa, including actions calling for increased investment in combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like trachoma.

On the festival stage, on Dec. 2, 2018, world leaders announced the launch of the Accelerate program, led by Sightsavers. Its goal was to eliminate trachoma in 14 countries across the African continent.

Since then, the program has helped treat millions of people facing blindness, supporting the delivery of 36 million treatments and managing more than 65,000 advanced trachoma cases.

As chief executive of Sightsavers since 2005, Dr. Caroline Harper has seen the organization transform communities worldwide, and become a major player in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) globally.

Global Citizen spoke with Harper about Sightsavers’ urgent work and the need for global commitment to health care initiatives worldwide.

Read the full article about healthcare initiatives by Camille May at Global Citizen.