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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Implementation of the SAFE strategy for trachoma prevention may have enhanced success in Muslim populations if the familiar language of ablution is adopted

Shamsuzzoha B. Syed, MBBS DPH DFPH, Institute of Public Health, Cambridge University, 4 Rimmer Close, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 1PX, United Kingdom, 01144 1787 310316, sbsyed71@yahoo.com, Mohammed Muhtaseb, BSc MBBS MRCOpth, Specialist Registrar in Ophthalmology, London Deanery, Moorfields Eye Clinic, St George's Hospital, London, 11 Ricards Road, London, SW19 7ES, United Kingdom, and Sarah Polack, MSc, International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 8 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3RE, United Kingdom.

The most common cause of preventable blindness worldwide is trachoma. At any one point, it is estimated that 500 million people are at risk of exposure. Trachoma is currently endemic in more than 50 countries worldwide. Many of these countries have predominantly Muslim or large Muslim populations.

The SAFE strategy (SAFE surgery, antibiotics, face washing and environmental improvement) is a global strategy aiming to eliminate blinding trachoma. Facial cleanliness aims to reduce transmission intensity within a population and is central to the strategy, especially in poorer areas that carry a disproportionately high burden of trachoma and that have inadequate medical access. These communities often have low literacy rates and prove challenging to engage with health education messages.

This paper: 1. Describes the concept and method of ablution (the act of ritual washing prior to prayer) used by Muslims, which incorporates facial washing. 2. Articulates how and why ablution methods can be incorporated into health promotion campaigns in Muslim populations as part of the SAFE strategy, thus enhancing face washing. 3. Reviews the global prevalence of trachoma in terms of Muslim populations and identifies populations that would be likely to benefit from such health promotion techniques.

The majority of individuals within Muslim communities, irrespective of level of education and whether or not that individual engages in prayer are aware of the method of ablution. It is culturally sensitive and understood by the target population. It can be incorporated into any health promotion campaign to tackle trachoma in Muslim communities.

Learning Objectives: By attending this educational session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Vision Care, Community Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

International Eye Care

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA