An eye health volunteer from Ushongo who has distributed medication in his community for the past 20 years has been recognised by local leaders for his efforts to treat and prevent river blindness.
Emmanuel Nyamkeen, 54, was praised for helping to educate reluctant village chiefs about the benefits of providing medication, which led to the entire community accepting the treatment. His work has earned him a position as secretary for the council of chiefs in Mbakuwha ward, and he was presented with his own orange tree orchard by late Chief John Apir.
Emmanuel said: “The community leader came to plant the orange trees himself in my compound, telling me: ‘You are not a Ushongo man if you don’t have an orchard of oranges.’”
Emmanuel named the orchard ‘Mectizan’, after the medication used to protect people against river blindness. He now sells oranges to supplement his income, and gives them as gifts to visitors.
His work to distribute medication is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development. More from Nigeria
A group of 215 health workers, community volunteers and teachers have taken part in a training course to help patients manage swelling in the arms and legs (known as lymphedema), one of the main symptoms of lymphatic filariasis (LF).
LF is transmitted by mosquito bite and affects the lymphatic system, and can cause painful swelling in the limbs, leading to disability and disfigurement.
After the training, participants were given washing basins, buckets, towels, antibiotic creams and other essentials, which they can use to help patients wash their affected limbs and alleviate their symptoms.
A register of lymphedema patients in the area has been set up, and 19 health centres in the Bono East region are now equipped to manage lymphedema cases.
The training aims to help patients like 50-year-old Amina, who has suffered years of stigma and discrimination because of the disease. She said: “If I’d learned about these management techniques earlier, I wouldn’t have suffered all the pains I have suffered. It has been a tremendous help to me.”
The work has been supported by Henry E Niles Foundation. More from Ghana
Staff from Sightsavers’ inclusive education project in the Segou region met US Ambassador to Mali Dennis Hankins during his recent trip to the area.
Mr Hankins also met children with visual impairments who have benefited from the project, which aims to improve the education system in the region for children with disabilities.
The project, which is funded by USAID, was originally scheduled to end in June 2019, but has been extended until 2020. More from Mali