While river blindness is transmitted by the black fly and lymphatic filariasis is transmitted by the mosquito, both diseases are caused by an infection of the filarial worm that can be treated with the same medication – Mectizan®. The World Health Organization recommends coordinating treatment for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis because the two diseases often appear together in communities.
By adding albendazole, a common de-worming medication, in areas where lymphatic filariasis is present, both diseases can be successfully treated together efficiently and cost-effectively.
The three-year river blindness and lymphatic filariasis programme supports country-led plans to deliver treatment to stop the transmission of infection and also stop the flies that transmit river blindness from breeding. The programme also helps to manage the pain associated with lymphatic filariasis through patient care and treatment.
Ajuna has been volunteering as a drug distributor for five years, helping to dispense medication to prevent river blindness and LF. Read her story
Meet 60-year-old Emmanuel, who lost his sight while earning a living as a fisherman. How? Because of a disease called river blindness. Read his story
In remote regions of Uganda, radio broadcasts are being used to spread information about diseases such as lymphatic filariasis. Read more
Poverty is both a cause and consequence of the poor health caused by these diseases. This project targets men, women and children in these hard-to-reach communities. By contributing to the elimination of these debilitating diseases, Sightsavers, with help from the UK government, aims to develop healthy communities where children no longer struggle with the health risks faced by their parents and grandparents.