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Earlier this year, the World Health Organization announced Mali as the 17th country to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem. This is a milestone more than two decades in the making. 

Trachoma was once pervasive in nearly every region of the country, putting nearly 10 million people at risk of blindness. Eliminating such a disease is difficult under the best circumstances and Mali also faced complications including the country’s vast terrain, many remote communities, and political instability and conflict. 

It is through the power of partnership that the Mali Ministry of Health was able to overcome these challenges to accomplish this historic milestone in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. 

To honor this achievement, Helen Keller recently presented members of the public-private partnership that worked tirelessly and successfully to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem in Mali with the 2023 Spirit of Helen Keller Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions by an individual or institution to the alleviation of blindness on a worldwide scale. Helen Keller is proud to honor and to have partnered with The Ministry of Health of Mali and the National Program for Eye Health, Pfizer, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Carter Center, Sightsavers, The International Trachoma Initiative, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, The END Fund, and the United States Agency for International Development.  

A large group of people stand under a projector screen. On the screen is a black and white photo of Helen Keller with a group of girls. Text at the top of the screen reads "Spirit of Helen Keller Award."
Representatives of partners who received the 2023 Spirit of Helen Keller Award with Helen Keller Board Chair Bill Toppeta and CEO Kathy Spahn at the New York City event celebrating the elimination of trachoma in Mali.

You can support partnerships working to eliminate blinding diseases, like trachoma.