The Trachoma Map: Making eye disease visible


SciDevNet and Sightsavers enlisted a public health data visualization to shed light on the world's leading infectious cause of blindness.

Between 2012 and 2015, eye nurses collected data from selected villages around the world in the hopes of unearthing crucial information on trachoma - an infectious eye disease that has been blamed for the blindness of around 2.2 million people.

Using smartphones, inhabitants from 30 randomly selected households in each village were surveyed. The process involved over 550 trained teams, comprising of more than 1,200 people; including data collectors, nurses, ophthalmologists and epidemiologists.

The results of this public health survey are visualized interactively by SciDevNet and Sightsavers in The Trachoma Map.

Yet, the significance of this project reaches beyond its large scale and geographical scope - it also represents the first ever collection of standardized trachoma data. 

Since each data collector used a consistent diagnostic criteria, and recorded this systemically using their smartphones, reliable data about the disease and demographic details about those affected could be reliably analyzed.

As a result of this project, intervention can be targeted towards vulnerable communities.

"We now know exactly how trachoma impacts people’s lives and we can use the data to plan our intervention," explained Caleb Mpyet, a Nigeria-based ophthalmologist and epidemiologist.

Check out the full project here.