Sightsavers from the field

March update: highlights from around the world

March 2021
School children in Cameroon line up to wash their hands from a large bucket.


Local volunteer helps to fight disease in memory of his twin brother

Husseini Musa, who lives in a remote region in central Nigeria, is distributing medication and raising awareness about lymphatic filariasis after the death of his twin brother Alhassan last year.

Alhassan, 40, had suffered from lymphatic filariasis for several years. His family first thought he had cancer, and he was forced to give up work as a teacher at the local school. Community health workers trained by Sightsavers visited Alhassan’s remote home in Angwan-kura, a community in Lokoja, Kogi state, during an outreach programme to find people with the disease. They were able to diagnose him and help him treat the resulting lymphoedema in his leg.

“They really helped my brother, teaching him how to wash and take care of his leg,” says Husseini. “It healed and he was able to get back to his job.”

Unfortunately Alhassan died soon afterwards, but his family continue to raise awareness about tackling lymphatic filariasis in their community, and Husseini distributes medication to help treat the disease. “People need to know how much these diseases can affect people’s lives,” he says.

The outreach work is part of the Ascend programme to protect millions of people from disease in 13 countries. More from Nigeria


Deworming campaign launches in schools

Sightsavers and partners have launched their latest push to protect children in Cameroon from worm infections by distributing medication in schools.

The campaign, funded by GiveWell, aims to protect children from intestinal worms and schistosomiasis, both of which are endemic in many areas of Cameroon.

The latest launch is part of a long-running programme to tackle worm infections in Cameroon. In the year to March 2020, more than 2.5 million school-age children in the country were given medication to protect them from the diseases.

The goal is to ensure children stay healthy so they can continue their education: the more a child can attend school, the better their life chances. More from Cameroon

A school student is handed a tablet by the head teacher.
Student Ongbapeken is given medication by head teacher Bomam and teacher Yana at school in the Littoral region of southern Cameroon. © Sightsavers/Blick Posey


Sightsavers’ eye health project features on TV

Sightsavers’ work in Rajasthan to make sure women can access eye care was highlighted by local media and TV news to mark International Women’s Day.

Sightsavers’ partners recently held eye camps aimed at women as part of local IWD celebrations on 8 March, which were visited by Rajasthan’s health minister.

The work is part of the Urban Eye Health programme, which aims to promote eye health among marginalised and vulnerable groups. It is implemented by Sightsavers’ partner Shrushti Seva Samiti in the informal urban settlement populations of Jaipur.

One of the women who has benefited from the programme is 65-year-old Bhanwar from Jaipur, who has been an anganwadi (rural childcare) helper for more than 16 years. She had developed cataracts, which were diagnosed at a Sightsavers-supported eye camp. Her husband was also diagnosed, and the couple were able to have surgery at Sightsavers’ partner hospital in Jaipur.

“Work is important for women,” says Bhanwar. “All women should work for themselves. Women are not meant to work only for families.” More from India

Bhanwar waves at the camera after her cataract surgery.
Bhanwar’s sight was restored thanks to Sightsavers’ Urban Eye Health programme.

Burkina Faso

Local districts step up the fight against river blindness amid pandemic

Health centres in Banfora and Mangodara, in the south-west of the country, have been training community volunteers how to safely deliver medication to stop the spread of river blindness.

Volunteers had to deal with the challenges of COVID-19 and were taught about all necessary safety protocols, including wearing masks and using hand sanitiser. They were shown how to use disposable spoons to distribute the medication, and how to enforce social distancing guidelines.

Following the training, the volunteers then took part in a nine-day mass drug administration in the districts, giving out medication to protect the local community against the disease and stop people losing their sight.

The project is funded by L’Occitane Foundation. More from Burkina Faso

Two volunteers in masks are shown by a trainer how to measure a patient's height.
Volunteers were shown how to safely deliver medication while following COVID-19 guidelines. © Sightsavers/Sanfo Souleymane


Journalists trained to deal with disability in the media

A group of 14 journalists with disabilities from different media groups took part in a training session run by the Federation of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FSAPH).

As part of the training, they learned how to portray disability sensitively in the media, promote equality and identify obstacles that prevent people with disabilities taking part in the political process. More from Senegal

Read about our work around the world

Where we work

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March 2024

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