Sightsavers in Burkina Faso

We work with governments, local organisations and communities in Burkina Faso and countries across Africa to deliver vital charity work and make sure everyone has the chance to thrive.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in the Sahel region of West Africa.

A former French colony, Burkina Faso gained independence in 1960, but has faced social and economic unrest after recent military coups.

The government has invested in several universal health coverage policies, although the health service lacks qualified staff and essential resources, meaning many people are unable to receive high-quality medical care. Those living in rural areas face additional difficulties: they often need to travel more than 5km for basic health care or to reach the country’s hospitals, most of which are in cities.

Several neglected tropical diseases are prevalent in Burkina Faso, including river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis, which can cause sight loss and disability. After years of hard work, trachoma is on track to be eliminated as a public health problem.

People with disabilities face social stigma and discrimination in Burkina Faso. Along with our partners, Sightsavers is working with local organisations of people with disabilities to promote disability rights and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through the country’s voluntary national review.

Facts about Burkina Faso

  • Population: 23 million
  • Capital: Ouagadougou
  • Official language: French
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 184 (low)

2.2 million people in Burkina Faso are thought to have vision loss

There are only 51 ophthalmologists in the country

Nearly 4.6 million people need treatment for at least one disease

Sources: IAPB, ESPEN

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A panorama of a village in Burkina Faso, showing dusty red roads and lush green trees.

What are the challenges in Burkina Faso, and how can these be addressed?

A panorama of a village in Burkina Faso, showing dusty red roads and lush green trees.

Eye care

Basic eye care is unaffordable for many people in Burkina Faso.

People in rural areas of the country can struggle to access eye care, putting them at risk of sight loss from conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. Sightsavers’ charity work in the country is helping to develop inclusive eye care services, particularly in the Cascades region.

An eye health worker checks the eyes of a woman sitting on a low wall in a dusty setting.

Our eye care work in Burkina Faso

Eye screening clinics

We screen children and adults for common eye conditions, including checking students for refractive errors at school, and refer them for treatment if needed.
Eye conditions we treat

Training staff

We support local health authorities to recruit and retain eye care workers, helping to fill staffing gaps and ensure people can be treated more quickly.
Learn about eye health roles

Working in partnership

By working in partnership with communities and organisations of people with disabilities, we can ensure our work is inclusive and reaches marginalised communities.
About inclusive health care

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Infectious diseases

People in Burkina Faso are at high risk of catching debilitating diseases.

Three neglected tropical diseases that can be treated and prevented with medication are endemic in Burkina Faso. Our work in the country focuses on protecting people from river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

Three people, one in a yellow Sightsavers t-shirt, sit round a table filling in paperwork.

How we’re tackling disease in Burkina Faso

Hygiene and sanitation

Sightsavers runs water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives in local communities to help control the spread of diseases such as trachoma.
Learn about WASH

Training volunteers

We find and train local volunteers to distribute medication in their communities and refer people for treatment where needed.
Meet our volunteers in Burkina Faso


To tell us where our support is needed, we collect data using surveys to track levels of disease across the country.
How we’re tracking advanced trachoma

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Community drug distributors gather in a circle at a meeting in Burkina Faso.

Community volunteers in Burkina Faso continued to distribute medication to protect people from river blindness during COVID-19

Community drug distributors gather in a circle at a meeting in Burkina Faso.

How you can help

Our charity work in Burkina Faso is helping to make eye care more inclusive, but there’s still more we need to do.

With your support, we want to strengthen the health system and protect people from disease, so everyone can learn, earn and thrive. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our programmes in Burkina Faso. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in Burkina Faso, would like details about our programmes or wish to discuss ways to donate or support us, email [email protected]

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