River blindness continues to affect many people in Republic of South Sudan. In 2017 we helped to distribute almost 500,000 treatments to prevent the spread of this neglected tropical disease.
Anthony Wani joined Sightsavers in 2012. He says: “Supporting people with disabilities and advocating for their rights brings me joy. I’m proud to be part of the Sightsavers family.”
Sightsavers started working in South Sudan in 2009 and established a country office in the capital, Juba, in January 2012. Several neglected tropical diseases are prevalent in the country: river blindness is endemic and more than 7.3 million people require preventative medicine to protect them against the disease. Trachoma is also suspected to be endemic in 32 districts.
We are helping the country’s ministry of health to distribute ivermectin medication, which eliminates the infection and stops river blindness from spreading. In 2017, we distributed almost 500,000 treatments for the disease and trained 4,100 volunteer distributors, who are based within communities and deliver medication to people in remote and hard-to-reach areas.
As part of a push to improve local healthcare, Sightsavers trains ophthalmic clinical officers, ophthalmologists, cataract surgeons, trachoma surgeons, drug distributors and health promoters. We have also helped to renovate an eye unit at Malakal Teaching Hospital.