Following evaluations carried out in 2010 in the district, it was found that river blindness (onchocerciasis) had increased in the region with more than 100 cases found in his village.
In order to control the spread of the disease, the ministry of health recommended that the community appoint someone to support health workers to distribute medication and raise awareness within the community. They would also support and spend time with those who may be reluctant to take treatment or seek help, and explain the benefits of taking the medicine and protecting the community.
Chief Siri Drissa appointed his son Siri Soungalo to support the activities, and thanks to Chief Siri Drissa’s leadership, the community is now enthusiastic about taking the treatment and sometimes people approach the Chief to ask him when the next treatment is as they are so keen.
The head of the health centre says that thanks to Karama’s brave commitment, the village of Korogora, where Karama helps distribute medicine, is among the villages in its health area to display the best ivermectin treatment coverage. Her communication skills and “love of working to fight river blindness make her one of the best community distributors in the area”.
Tou Orokia is 34 years old and has five children. She lives in the village of Tiekouna and has been volunteering as a community distributor since 2011. She sadly lost her husband six months ago but remains determined to continue this noble struggle “until the total elimination of the disease”.
Since 2013, L’Occitane Foundation has been supporting Sightsavers to eliminate river blindness and trachoma in this part of Burkina Faso. The project provides medical training to local healthcare workers, screening campaigns, surgeries and mass drug administration, all in collaboration with local communities. It has so far provided more than 500,000 treatments against river blindness and more than 100 trachoma surgeries.