Vanuatu has become the first country in the Pacific to successfully eliminate trachoma as a public health problem.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the attainment on Aug. 12, attributing the success to the “strong commitment” and unified efforts of health workers, communities, and governments.

Trachoma, a neglected tropical disease, is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. If the initial bacterial infection is not treated fast enough, the eyelids turn inward, forcing the eyelashes to painfully lacerate, and eventually cloud, the clear covering of the eye.

It's been almost three decades since the WHO adopted its official global strategy for halting trachoma and just over 25 years since the organization launched an alliance to eliminate the disease by 2020. An updated WHO road map now aims to see trachoma, and 20 other neglected tropical diseases, eliminated and eradicated worldwide by 2030.

Trachoma remains a public health concern in 44 countries.

Read the full article about eliminating trachoma by Madeleine Keck at Global Citizen.