International Trachoma Initiative

Co-founded in 1998 with a grant from Pfizer and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) aims to meet the World Health Organization's (WHO) call to eliminate trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness, by 2030.1


Trachoma stats

Trachoma is an infectious eye disease and one of the world's leading causes of preventable blindness. Repeated trachoma infections can cause the eyelids to turn in and lashes to scrape the eyeball with each blink, causing great pain and cornea scarring. This condition is called trichiasis, and without immediate, corrective surgery, a person with trichiasis will slowly and painfully become blind.1

Trachoma is believed to be a public health problem in 44 countries, primarily in Africa and Asia - globally, more than 137 million people live in trachoma-endemic areas. Because it is transmitted through close personal contact, trachoma tends to occur in clusters-often infecting entire families and communities.1

However, it is treatable and preventable. The World Health Organisation (WHO) endorses a series of simple interventions known as the SAFE Strategy: Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvements. In order to prevent permanent blindness and disability from trachoma, each of these interventions must be implemented over the long term.1

Since 1999, Pfizer has donated over 920 million antibiotic treatments in 40 countries2 and has committed to the donation programme until 2025, if required, to help achieve global elimination of trachoma. Pfizer’s continued donation programme will help accelerate progress made to reduce trachoma through increased donations.

As of April 2021, Cambodia, Ghana, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, People's Republic of China, and The Gambia have become among the first nations to have been validated as eliminating trachoma as a public health problem.3

Pfizer has a long and proud history in the development of antibiotics. It is both uplifting and humbling to see our science working in combination with the SAFE Strategy to benefit such a large number of people in such a significant way." 

Dr Berkeley Philips, Medical Director, Pfizer UK



  1. World Health Organisation. 'Trachoma factsheet' Accessed Nov 2021
  2. International Trachoma Initiative. Where We Work Accessed Nov 2021
  3. International Trachoma Initiative. About ITI Accessed Nov 2021
  4. World Health Organisation. Eliminating trachoma: WHO announces sustained progress with hundreds of millions of people no longer at risk of infection Accessed Nov 2021.


PP-PFE-GBR-4140 / November 2021