Sightsavers’ work in Senegal focuses on eye screening and surgery. In 2017 we screened 76,000 people for eye conditions and helped to carry out 8,000 sight-saving operations to treat eye issues such as cataracts.
Salimata Bocoum started working for Sightsavers in 2010. She says: “The best part of my job is giving children with disabilities the opportunity to learn and socialise with their peers in ordinary schools.”
In Senegal, we provide vision tests and deworming treatment in 31 schools as part of the School Health Integrated Programming project. In the future this could be rolled out nationally to ensure all children have access to eye health care.
Trachoma, a neglected tropical disease, is a major public health problem in Senegal: about 25,000 people in the country are blind because of the disease. We aim to eliminate trachoma in Senegal by implementing the SAFE strategy, a public health approach endorsed by the World Health Organization that aims to control the spread of trachoma via surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements.
Alongside eye health programmes, Sightsavers is working to empower people with disabilities. In 2017, we helped 200 children with visual impairments and other disabilities in Senegal to go to school, ensuring they are educated alongside their peers. We also helped to train 58 teachers and other educational staff in inclusion, and are working in four regions, including Dakar, to increase the political participation of women and men with disabilities by promoting involvement in local elections and community decision-making.
Seven-year-old Aminata from Senegal was born blind and would spend her days sitting at home alone while her parents went begging to support the family. But thanks to the help of Sightsavers, the Senegalese government launched an inclusive education project to enable children with visual impairments and other disabilities, such as Aminata, to go to school.
Now her day has structure and purpose: she is able to learn alongside her friends, making her feel included and valued, and helping her to thrive and develop into a happy, confident child. Read Aminata’s story.
Sightsavers’ work is aligned with the Global Goals (also referred to as the sustainable development goals) and directly contributes to achieving them in Senegal. In this video our Senegal Country Director Salimata Bocoum speaks about our successful inclusive education project.
View the full video of Salimata explaining how Sightsavers is helping to achieve the SDGs in Senegal.