Summary of Study Session 39
In Study Session 39, you have learned that:
- Trachoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Ethiopia; it is due to infection with Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria, transmitted from person to person by flies, on hands and clothing, and sometimes also from mother to newborn if the bacteria are in the birth canal.
- Patients with active trachoma (grade TF or TF+TI) should be treated at community level with tetracycline eye ointment. More severe grades of trachoma should be referred for specialist treatment, often involving simple surgery to stop the eyelashes from rubbing the cornea.
- Scabies is a severe skin inflammation caused by reactions to a microscopic parasitic mite that burrows into the skin. The irritation can seriously impair the quality of life of affected children.
- Good personal hygiene, particularly washing the face, body and clothes with soap and clean water, and environmental hygiene, including disposal of rubbish and other waste, and using latrines, are important ways to prevent trachoma and scabies.
- Podoconiosis is a non-infectious type of elephantiasis (swollen leg) caused by reactions to particles of red clay soil entering the skin. It can be prevented if children grow up wearing shoes all the time.
- People with podoconiosis can be successfully treated in the community using simple foot hygiene, ointment, elastic bandages, socks and shoes. Sometimes, patients with podoconiosis need urgent referral for treatment of ‘superinfection’ with bacteria or fungi, open wounds, or skin cancer.
- If you educate people that podoconiosis is not infectious and can be treated and prevented, the stigma and rejection that patients often experience can be resolved.