Sightsavers is working to eliminate trachoma and river blindness in Burkina Faso. In 2017 we distributed 103,000 treatments for river blindness, and trained more than 600 volunteers to give out medication.
Trachoma starts off as a bacterial infection that’s a bit like conjunctivitis, and can be easily treated. But if it’s not, over time it causes scarring to the eyelid that makes the eyelashes turn inward, so with every blink they scrape against the eye. River blindness is a parasitic infection that can cause severe skin irritation, itching, visual impairment and irreversible blindness. It is spread by the bite of infected black flies.
To combat thse diseases, Sightsavers carries out mass drug administration programmes in three health districts in the Cascades region, distributing medication to treat and prevent river blindness and trachoma.
In 2017, Sightsavers distributed more than 103,000 NTD treatments across the country and trained 649 community drug distributors, enabling them to gather data and give out medication to protect against these debilitating diseases.
Dicko has worked for Sightsavers for more than nine years. He says: “The best part of my job is giving visually impaired children access to education and ensuring future generations never go blind from trachoma and river blindness.”
The Tropical Data project is a data-collection initiative that uses smartphone technology to gather data as part of the global fight to eliminate trachoma in countries such as Burkino Faso. With the evidence generated from the data, ministries of health are able to pinpoint exactly where to run trachoma treatment programmes and offer life-changing support.