Good health allows children to learn and adults to earn. It helps people escape from poverty and provides the basis for long term economic development. It is a basic human right, to which everyone is entitled.
There is growing evidence to suggest that people with disabilities experience poorer levels of health than their peers. Often this is related to co-morbidity linked to specific impairments, but more commonly it’s due to a lack of accessible health facilities and information as well as barriers to treatment* or discrimination. People living with disabilities frequently lack a voice in decisions about their own health as well as in the development of national health policies that affect them.
People who are visually impaired or blind make up a significant proportion of people with disabilities. Globally 39 million are blind and a further 246 million have poor vision that impairs their daily lives. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including onchocerciasis (river blindness) and trachoma, affect 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest people. NTDs are most common in those communities that lack access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.
If we want to improve people’s health and wellbeing and enable people and their families to live healthier and more socially inclusive and productive lives, we need to have the right health systems in place.
*WHO (2011) World Report on Disability Geneva, World Health Organization in: Disability in the post-2015 framework. Lorraine Wapling, November 2012.
Our health-focused research is guided by our eye health strategy and fast track initiatives for eliminating river blindness and trachoma. Sightsavers’ health research falls into three main categories:
Sightsavers’ projects range from innovative pilots to long term programmes, covering health, education and social inclusion. We work collaboratively with communities, local partners and governments – below are a few examples of work we’re leading on or involved with.
The Global Trachoma Mapping Project was a groundbreaking three-year disease-mapping project that demonstrated that 100 million people are at risk of blindness from trachoma. The Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP), ran from December 2012 – January 2016 and saw surveyors collect and transmit data from 2.6 million people in 29 countries using Android smartphones. more >