- Active trachoma
- Mass treatment
Azithromycin mass distribution was given to residents of Gurage zone Cheha district in 2004, 2005 and 2006 for three consecutive years with more than 90% coverage. The effect of treatment in the study community was not yet determined. The present study was therefore designed to assess the effect of azithromycin on the prevalence of active trachoma two years after three rounds of mass treatment of the community at Cheha district, Gurage zone.
A multistage stratified cluster random survey was employed to determine the prevalence of active trachoma among children aged 1 to 9. Selected children were examined for trachoma using the simplified WHO grading system and their households were assessed for trachoma risk factors.
This survey demonstrated that the prevalence of active trachoma in the study community was 22.8% (95% CI 18.24% - 27.36%) that was lower than that of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Regional prevalence (33.2%) in 2006. Only 27.6% (95% CI 25.7% - 30.1%) of the study population had a safe and clean water supply, whereas 42.7% (95% CI 39.8% - 46.2%) of the visited households had simple pit latrines.
This survey demonstrated that despite repeated mass oral azithromycin distributions, the prevalence of active trachoma was still high. Therefore, the other components of the SAFE strategy such as fly control program, improving the water sources, measures to improve face washing and construction of utilizable latrines that are being implemented through the health extension package have to be integrated with mass azithromycin treatment to eliminate active trachoma in the district.