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A population-based survey on trachoma was carried out in Jimma zone. The survey showed that trachoma is hyperendemic: of 7,423 people examined, 33.02% had signs of trachoma, 28.9% of males and 37.01% of females; 26.13% of the urban and 34.09% of the rural population had clinical signs of trachoma. Active trachoma (TF/TI) was seen in 24.5% of the study population (an estimated half million people). The prevalence of signs of active trachoma among children 0–10 years of age was 35.7%. Blinding trachoma (CO/TT) was seen in 3.81% of the population: 6.86% of the female population aged 15 years had trichiasis and/or entropion. Both active and critical trachoma were significantly associated with the female gender (P < 0.0000001 for each), living in rural areas (P < 0.0001 for each type), parental illiteracy (P < 0.0000001 for each) and absence of a latrine (P < 0.01 for each). Shorter distance of the household water supply was associated with a higher prevalence of both active and cicatricial trachoma. This was significant only for cases of active trachoma living in households within 16 to 30 minutes walking distance from the water source (P < 0.03). An estimated 17000 people in the zone are blind; 3500 of these from trachoma. About 52,000 people are in danger of blindness from trichiasis. Primary eye care activities such as promoting health education (face washing) among community members, especially women and children, mass chemotherapy for trachoma, training of health workers and establishment of community-based surgical services are recommended. These are to be executed by the Zonal Health Department in close collaboration with the community, governmental and non-governmental organisations.