At the time, the threat of COVID-19 led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend suspending mass treatment campaigns, but it has since provided guidance on restarting activities safely. Further campaigns, which have been adapted to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, will start in other African countries soon.
Around one million people in the northwestern state of Jigawa received antibiotics to treat blinding trachoma – one of the five NTDs Sightsavers works to eliminate – between mid-July and the start of September. Other campaigns have since started in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.
Trachoma is a painful and infectious eye condition which, if not treated, can cause visual impairment and irreversible blindness. It affects millions of people living in poor and rural communities around the world. Antibiotics treat the infection and stop it from spreading.
Before supporting the resumption of treatments in Nigeria, Sightsavers and partners conducted a rigorous assessment process in line with WHO guidance. Now health ministries in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Senegal, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe are working with Sightsavers and partners to conduct similar assessments in the hope of resuming NTD activities in the coming months.