The OEM project is an operational research project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Sightsavers. In November 2019, the project expanded across Mozambique to help assess the prevalence of river blindness in the country. Mozambique represents the largest OEM implementation to date, where mapping took place in seven districts and more than 10,200 people were surveyed. This is the first time river blindness has been surveyed in Mozambique using modern techniques.
In Massangam in the West region of Cameroon, nomadic communities regularly move around, living in different areas at different times of the year. This means they can miss out on mass drug administration (MDA) programmes to treat and prevent river blindness. It’s essential these communities receive the medicine because their camps are mostly set up near riverbanks, which puts them at higher risk of being bitten by the disease-carrying flies that breed near fast-flowing water.
Sightsavers has embarked on a new research project, involving multiple activities, to engage with the nomadic communities. These include using guides and drug distributors from the nomadic community, creating materials in the local language (Fulfulde) with help from language experts, and using satellite imagery to find where nomadic camps are located.