Donors invested more than $100 million for the Accelerate programme, which launched on 2 December at the Global Citizen concert in Johannesburg: it was announced by Richard Branson via recorded video link, and introduced on stage by community volunteer Precious. The concert celebrated the legacy of Nelson Mandela and featured performances by Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran.
Read more about the event
Also in January, Forbes published a case study documenting how Sightsavers and partners helped Ghana to make history by becoming the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate trachoma. Forbes also celebrated the announcement of the Accelerate programme and the role of the Audacious Project in helping to eliminate this ancient disease. Read Forbes’ case study
Treatment activities started to get into full swing in some programme countries, including Nigeria, where 6,805 patients with advanced trachoma were referred for surgery. In total, 50 trachoma surgeons and 6,600 community volunteers were trained, 2.9 million treatments were delivered in 10 areas, and 11 trachoma surveys were carried out. The TT tracker, which uses mobile phones to collect and analyse data about surgery and performance, was running in Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina and Yobe.
Through Accelerate, Zimbabwe undertook its largest-ever distribution of trachoma medication (also known as mass drug administration, or MDA) in 10 districts. In total, this protected 1.4 million people from trachoma in one week. Read our blog about how technology was used efficiently to make this happen.
Also by June 2019, 8.5 million people had been treated with antibiotics to protect them from trachoma, 13,685 patients with advanced trachoma were assessed by healthcare staff, and 69 surgeons had been trained and certified to deliver pain relief and carry out sight-saving surgery. The scope of the programme expanded from 12 African countries to 14.
Sightsavers CEO Caroline Harper partnered with the END Fund to fuel the global conversation about NTDs by hosting a session at the TED Summit in Edinburgh. Dr Harper highlighted how the WHO-approved SAFE strategy is helping to fight the disease, while the END Fund’s Sam Mayer explained how deworming programmes can drastically reduce the number of people infected with intestinal worms. Read more about the summit
Accelerate’s mHealth work was chosen from more than 1,000 applications for the Global Best Practice showcase at the Dubai and UAE Expo. The showcase aimed to enable organisations to share their knowledge so they can learn from each other, sparking solutions in other parts of the world. Read the news story or learn more about the Expo.
Sightsavers visited Turkana in Kenya to document the success of the outreach work to eliminate trachoma in the country. Through Accelerate, Sightsavers is completing the last few operations for advanced trachoma in the region, and the programme will continue to provide medication to prevent and treat the earlier stages of the disease.
Sightsavers has partnered with the Fred Hollows Foundation and PlenOptika to pilot a new vision care strategy that aims to revolutionise eye care worldwide.
Sightsavers began working in Kenya in 1952, when blindness affected up to 7% of rural Kenyans.
Sightsavers has been awarded $16.9 million to continue and expand its deworming work, after a funding recommendation from US charity evaluator GiveWell.