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September updates: highlights from around the world

September 2019
In Zimbabwe, case finders check children's eyes for signs of trachoma.


Sightsavers-supported judoka wins bronze medal

An athlete who took up judo as part of a Sightsavers disability inclusion project has competed in the Commonwealth Judo Championships, which took place in Walsall in the UK on 25 September.

Sarita Choure was part of the India team and competed on the first day of the championships against other athletes with visual impairments.

She started learning judo five years ago as part of a Sightsavers empowerment project in India. The Chhattisgarh Social Inclusion Programme project aims to teach self-defence and judo skills to women with visual impairments, so they feel safer when on their own in public.

Sarita’s skills have now enabled her to compete in a number of national and international competitions. More from India

Sarita Choure at the judo championships.
Sarita has been learning judo for the past five years as part of a Sightsavers project in Chhattisgarh.


Parents learn sign language to help them communicate

More than 100 parents of children with hearing impairments have taken part in a sign language training course in Homa-bay County.

The course was organised by the Kenyan ministry of education as part of Sightsavers’ inclusive education project in the region, which aims to support children with disabilities so they can go to school, learn alongside their peers and take part fully in society.

The training sessions were organised following feedback from parents of children with disabilities, who said they often found it hard to communicate and interact with their children. More from Kenya

Teacher Lilian shows parents how to sign the letter G as part of the sign language training in Kenya.


Prime minister meets Sightsavers programme staff

The prime minister of Tanzania, Kassim Majaliwa, heard about Sightasvers’ work to prevent trachoma in the country during his visit to the Lindi region.

His visit coincided with the launch of the new trachoma project in Lindi, which aims to tackle trachoma using the WHO-endorsed SAFE strategy. The acronym stands for surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements, which is recognised as an effective approach to help treat and prevent the disease. The project is funded by the UK Department for International Development and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

During his visit, Mr Majaliwa reiterated his support for eye care in the country and thanked Sightsavers for its work, stating that his government will continue to prioritise eye health services wherever possible. More from Tanzania

Two men shaking hands.
Kassim Majaliwa (left) greets programme staff from Sightsavers' Tanzania country office.


Seeing is Believing project boosts eye health treatment

Sightsavers’ partnership with Standard Chartered, as part of the Seeing is Believing project, has helped to dramatically increase in the number of people being treated for cataracts in the Muchinga province in north-eastern Zambia.

The project has helped to train 126 community health workers, enabling them to offer basic eye assessments and raise awareness about eye issues in the community. This helps to reassure people about treatment and banish some of the myths associated with eye surgery, encouraging patients to seek help.

As a result, the number of cataract operations in the areas has risen dramatically, from just under 300 in the three months from July to September 2016 to 660 in the same period in 2019.

The project has also ensured that better follow-up treatment is available for patients, ensuring they recover quickly without complications and don’t develop any other eye conditions. More from Zambia

An eye health worker checks a man's eyes.
A patient has his eyes checked after cataract surgery, as part of the Seeing is Believing project.


Surgeons and staff trained to find and treat trachoma

A group of six surgeons, two supervisors and nearly 400 case finders have been trained by in-country master trainers to find and treat trachoma patients, enabling more districts to offer treatment to people in need.

In total, seven districts in Zimbabwe can now provide treatment for advanced trachoma, and each of these districts has a trained supervisor to provide support to healthcare workers. Surgeons have been trained to use the Trabut technique, a form of eyelid surgery used to correct inturned eyelashes caused by repeated scarring from trachoma infections.

Between July and September 2019, 116 people had surgery to treat advanced trachoma using the technique. The work is part of the Accelerate programme to eliminate trachoma in several countries. More from Zimbabwe

Seven districts in Zimbabwe are now set up to treat trachoma.

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More stories from the field

Angeshita smiles broadly.
Sightsavers stories

“I’m a living testimony of cataract surgery”

When Angeshita regained her independence after her eye operation, so did her family. After caring for her for several years. they are now able to return to school and work, giving them all hope for the future.

An eye health doctor wearing a smart white shirt and sunglasses.
Sightsavers stories

Eye health hero: Alinafe cuts the queues

Learn about one man's mission to make a difference in his community in rural Malawi by training as an eye health specialist. Now, long queues at the eye clinic are a thing of the past.

A female community drug distributor measures a girl to see how much medication she needs to protect her from trachoma.
Sightsavers stories

“Our programme has transformed communities”

Now in its sixth year, the Accelerate programme has already delivered 53 million treatments to protect people from trachoma, and managed 91,000 advanced cases of the disease.

Learn about our work to save sight