The billionth treatment was administered on Thursday 16 November to a seven-year-old girl named Dorcas, who was at risk of NTDs in Kudaru, a community in Kaduna State, Nigeria. It was a combined treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (LF) as part of one of Sightsavers’ flagship programmes, UNITED, which is funded by UK aid. This achievement was possible thanks to the support of committed funders, partners and a network of local volunteers, known as community directed distributors (CDDs).
The global celebrations in December will recognise the one billion antibiotic treatments that Sightsavers has distributed to individuals and whole communities at risk of NTDs, as well as celebrating the advances that have been made in science and medicine that are helping to eliminate the diseases. The achievement represents the success of collaborative working between hundreds of partners on a global scale.
NTDs are a group of painful and debilitating infections that affect about one in five people across the globe. They are most prevalent in developing countries and cause severe and lifelong physical impairment that can trap individuals, families and whole communities in a cycle of poverty and social isolation.
Sightsavers Director of NTDs Simon Bush said: “NTDs affect some of the world’s poorest people, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Our collaboration with communities, ministries of health in endemic countries, donors, other NGOs and academic institutions shows that these diseases can be prevented, treated and, ultimately, eliminated.
“The billionth milestone has only been achieved thanks to our partners across the world, without whom this life-changing work would not be possible. We are looking forward to celebrating with them at events across the world in December.”
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for the countdown to the global celebrations, and to find out which well-known faces will be joining the celebrations.