DONATE

Sightsavers launches school eye health programme in Liberia

November 2018
Close up photo of eye testing spectacles being held towards the camera by a man.

Sightsavers has launched a three-year integrated deworming and eye health programme in schools in Liberia, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.

The programme, funded by the Dubai Cares foundation, will improve the lives of more than 76,000 children through vision screening and deworming treatment.

Known as SHIP (school health integrated programming), the programme will support the training of 2400 teachers to screen and distribute medication. 33 district education officers will also be qualified to train teachers, and four optometric technicians trained to support the country’s limited number of eye health specialists.

Teachers will carry out the screening, and refer children found to have vision problems to a mobile team of optometric technicians who will travel to the schools to examine the children and provide glasses on the spot at no cost to the children and their families.

Liberia is one of the world’s least developed countries. A mean average of 4.4 years of schooling is received per person and with an average of just three years of schooling, girls fare worse than boys. In addition, an estimated 21% of children do not complete primary education. The country also has a high prevalence of soil transmitted helminth infections that constitute a serious public health problem, and the largest cause of visual impairment among school-age children is uncorrected refractive error. The SHIP programme aims to address these issues.

The programme is based on a 2016 pilot project held in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal, which led to more than 57,000 children being screened for eye problems. The pilot, conducted with the Partnership for Child Development and supported by the World Bank and Global Partnership for Education, demonstrated how schools could be used to deliver integrated health interventions and raise awareness, engagement and capacity towards comprehensive school health. Sightsavers aims to apply the knowledge and tools developed through the pilot to the Liberia programme, to show how it can be scaled up effectively.

A hand holds medication used to treat NTDs.

Deworming in Africa

Sightsavers carries out deworming programmes in sub-Saharan African countries including Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.

More about the disease

Learn more about Sightsavers’ work

Neglected tropical diseases
Four pairs of sunglasses from the Togetherband range, in black, dark green, tortoiseshell and cream.
sightsavers_news

#TOGETHERBAND initiative supports Sightsavers with new sustainable sunglasses range

The initiative, which promotes the UN’s Global Goals, will donate £1 from every purchase to fund Sightsavers' work on river blindness.

July 2021
A long line of children queue to see an eye health worker.
sightsavers_news

Statement: Sightsavers’ response to UK aid reduction decision

Sightsavers' director of policy and programme strategy, Dom Haslam, responds to the "devastating" outcome of the vote to keep the budget for international development at 0.5% of national income.

July 2021
A man has his eyes checked for signs of trachoma.
sightsavers_news

World’s largest trachoma surveys reach 50th country

Sierra Leone has become the 50th country to be surveyed for trachoma as part of the initiative, with one person being examined for trachoma every 26 seconds since the surveys began in 2012.

July 2021

Learn about our work to save sight