Sightsavers from the field

November 2019 updates: highlights from around the world

November 2019
A landscape of a Nigerian village featuring trees and homes.


Widower plans to remarry after being treated for lymphatic filariasis

Usman Jatau, a 60-year-old cobbler and farmer, has received life-changing lymphatic filariasis (LF) treatment thanks to Sightsavers.

Usman is just one of the many people in Kebbi State, Nigeria, who has been helped by an LF screening programme.

He has been living with the condition for more than 20 years, which meant he struggled to walk and work on the farm. Usman’s wife helped him through the illness until she passed away seven years ago.

Thankfully he found love again two years ago, but his condition has meant they have been unable to marry.

However, he received good news from his traditional leader who told him about a screening programme for neglected tropical diseases that was taking place in his village. He was screened and diagnosed with a hydrocele – a symptom of lymphatic filariasis – and had surgery to treat the condition.

Now Usman is busy planning his wedding – and has promised to invite the whole programme team. He has also been educating others in his community on the importance of treating infections by taking medication and sleeping under a mosquito-treated net. More from Nigeria

Usman smiles after receiving eye surgery.
Usman is planning his wedding after being treated for lymphatic filariasis.


Ministry of health receives trachoma medicine and equipment 

Sightsavers and partners have provided medicines and equipment to the ministry of health in Senegal as part of the Accelerate project to eliminate trachoma and to improve the local health care system.

A ceremony was held to celebrate the donation of the medicines and equipment, which was part of a project funded by Irish Aid. The equipment will help the ministry of health continue to fight against disease and to make sure people are able to get treatment for health issues, as well as improving the conditions for health workers in the country.

The Accelerate project’s partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund FoundationThe ELMA FoundationUK aid and Virgin Unite.  More from Senegal

A man and woman stand with a box of donated medicines.
Sightsavers West Africa regional director Fatoumata Diouf presents the equipment to members of the ministry of health.


Mother-of-seven receives trachoma surgery after believing she was a victim of ‘witchcraft’

Catherine, from Chibesa Village in northern Zambia, underwent vital sight-saving surgery for trachoma thanks to a Sightsavers screening project.

When Catherine was young, her mother’s eyelids began to turn inwards – a symptom of trachoma. The community believed this was due to witchcraft, and Catherine and her family were forced to move to Chibesa.

However, when she was 23, Catherine and her two sisters began to experience the same symptoms as their mother. Traditional healers once again told them they were also victims of witchcraft, and the medications they received offered no relief. Catherine became so unwell she was unable to work or do her household chores.

But one day, Sightsavers-funded community health workers visited Catherine and her family and invited them to a screening, as part of a programme funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

Despite their initial distrust of the medical providers, they received counselling and Catherine agreed to surgery and convinced her sisters to do the same.

Now all three are free of the pain of trachoma and Catherine is able to work and care for her seven children once again. More from Zambia


Sightsavers India rewarded for eye health work

Sightsavers India received the Mahatma Award for Social Good 2019 at an event in New Delhi, for its work to prevent blindness.

Sightsavers India CEO RN Mohanty collected the award from noted philanthropist Rajashree Birla and Amit Sachdeva, the founder of the Mahatma Awards.

The 2019 India edition of Mahatma Awards celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday and was hosted by Liveweek and co-hosted by Charitnation. Sightsavers was nominated for demonstrating excellence and the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity and civic and social responsibility.

Mr Mohanty said: “I am very happy that we are receiving this award along with many other stalwart organisations that have been doing some fabulous work at the grassroots level. Such honours encourage us to re-double our efforts and to do more.”

Recent work in India includes a programme which halved blindness in the Sundarbans, one of the country’s poorest regions. More from India

RN Mohanty holds up his award.
Sightsavers India CEO RN Mohanty collects at an event in New Delhi.

Read about our work around the world

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Epidemiologist Michael Dejene, who is collecting data on trachoma, crouches next to a woman who is sorting produce.
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