Sightsavers from the field

June 2019 updates: highlights from around the world

July 2019
A school student in Zambia stands in front of a mural depicting superhero characters from Sightsavers' Super School of 5 programme.


Super School of 5 programme teaches students about good hygiene

Thousands of children in Zambia have learned about the importance of good hygiene through the latest phase of the Super School of 5 programme, which uses superhero characters to encourage school students to wash their hands and faces.

Phase four of the programme in Zambia finished in June 2019, reaching more than 8,000 children in 20 schools across two districts.

As part of the programme, 19 supervisors were trained to monitor the schools, and they reported an increase in the number of children washing their faces, along with improved personal and environmental hygiene. The programme is funded by DFID as part of its SAFE strategy to control trachoma. More from Zambia

Five school students in Zambia in front of a mural depicting superheroes from Sightsavers' Super School of 5 programme.
The Super School of 5 programme features colourful murals to encourage students to wash their hands and faces.


More than a million people given medication to protect them from trachoma

A mass drug administration campaign to distribute preventative treatment for trachoma has reached more than 1.2 million people.

The campaign was carried out in 10 districts where the disease was rife. Data about the treatments was submitted and analysed in real time, enabling staff to address any challenges and make sure as many people as possible were treated.

Also in Zimbabwe, three ‘master trainers’ have been trained to pass on the skills needed to operate on patients with advanced trachoma. So far during the programme, more than 100 patients have had surgery, and 200 case finders have been trained to identify cases of the disease. More from Zimbabwe

An eye health worker holding some pink tablets.
Antibiotics have been given to people at risk of trachoma in Zimbabwe to protect them from the disease.


First inclusive education outreach project is launched

An outreach campaign to find children with disabilities and enable them go to school has helped more than 100 children during its first phase.

A team of physiotherapists, an ophthalmologist, orthopaedic staff and an ear, nose and throat specialist joined a representative from the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to assess more than 250 children for potential disabilities at an outreach site.

Of the children screened, 113 were helped to find a place at primary school. Seven were referred to secondary schools or vocational training, while one was recommended for home-based care. The rest were referred for further medical treatment. More from Kenya

A student in a wheelchair is pushed by a teacher at a school in Kenya.
The outreach project in Kenya aims to enable children with disabilities to find a place at school.


Mobile trachoma surgeons and trackers trained

A training programme has taken place in the northern town of Banikoara, 700km from the capital, to boost the number of trachoma surgeons and ‘trackers’ helping to eliminate the disease.

Surgeons were taught using the ‘Head Start’ dummy, a model of a patient’s head with interchangeable eye sections to enable them to hone their skills. The were also taught about the importance of follow-up sessions after a patient’s surgery.

Mobile eye heatlh staff were also trained to use the TT Tracker app, which enables them to track trachoma patients from their initial diagnosis through to treatment and regular follow-up. In total, four surgeons and eight tracker assistants were trained during the sessions.  The project is part of the Accelerate programme and is funded by a group of donors. More from Benin

A group of eye health workers following their training session in Benin.
Surgeons and eye health workers from Benin were involved in the trachoma training sessions.


Sightsavers launches fellowship programme for young ophthalmologists

The Sightsavers India Fellowship is a chance for 10 young ophthalmologists to receive training at some of the country’s leading eye health institutes.

Shortlisted fellows will then have the chance to put their skills into practice during a placement at one of Sightsavers’ partner hospitals, with the aim of improving eye care facilities in rural areas. The two-year fellowship programme will enable them to work alongside experienced ophthalmologists to improve both their clinical and life skills.

Sightsavers India CEO RN Mohanty said: “At the moment there are only 18,000 ophthalmologists in India, which is nowhere near enough given the population in the country. Sightsavers’ fellowship programme aims to train and groom motivated young people to help them transform into exceptionally skilled ophthalmologists.” More from India

Three young ophthalmologists in a promotional image for the fellowship programme.
A group of 10 trainee ophthalmologists will be trained as part of the two-year fellowship programme.


Training for staff helps to ensure elections are inclusive

A group of electoral agents, assessors and security agents have been trained in disability inclusion to ensure elections in the country are as inclusive as possible.

In total, 59 electoral agents and 36 members of the security forces took part in the training sessions.

To support the push for political inclusion, partners from Senegal’s national election committee and the general election directorate of social welfare joined members of disabled people’s organisations on a trip to Cameroon to learn from the country’s experiences of holding inclusive elections. The aim is for officials from Cameroon to make a return visit to Senegal in future to learn from local inclusive development initiatives. More from Senegal

A school in Senegal that is used as a polling station during elections.
In Senegal, schools are often used as polling stations. The training aims to ensure staff are aware about accessibility issues.

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