Sightsavers’ work in Guinea focuses on preventing the spread of neglected tropical diseases. In 2017 we helped to distribute almost 2.5 million NTD treatments and supported 1,900 sight-saving operations.
It is estimated more than 6.7 million people require preventative treatment for river blindness, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that is endemic in Guinea. However, the country has a severe lack of eye care resources.
To tackle NTDs in the country, Sightsavers is helping to train doctors, nurses and village distributors to administer medication that can prevent river blindness spreading and stop patients suffering further sight loss. We are also implementing the SAFE strategy, a public health approach endorsed by the World Health Organization that aims to control the spread of trachoma. The project aims to prevent blindness, reduce poverty and improve quality of life and socio-economic development in affected communities.
Schistosomiasis and intestinal worms are also endemic in the country. As part of a push to eliminate the diseases, we distribute de-worming medication to schoolchildren that are at risk, support education programmes, and train teachers and volunteers to distribute medication.
Sightsavers is working to improve Guinea’s healthcare system by helping to train ophthalmologists and bringing in trained health workers from other West African countries, such as Togo, Niger, Mali and Benin. We also provide surgical equipment and support cataract operations.
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.”
Rivers are the most high-risk location for contracting river blindness because the disease is transmitted by black flies, which breed near fast-flowing water. Luckily for farmer Mamdou, who lives close to a river in Guinea, access to medication saved him from losing his sight completely. Read Mamadou’s story.