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Neglected tropical diseases

We help to treat and prevent five debilitating diseases that affect more than a billion people. These parasitic and bacterial infections are known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Children in Malawi queue up to have their eyes checked by an eye health worker.

Neglected tropical diseases are a major cause of preventable blindness. They are most prevalent in rural regions, poor urban areas and conflict zones.

The diseases affect more than a billion people worldwide, and can cause severe and lifelong impairment.

Yet these diseases can be prevented, treated and eliminated.

Sightsavers works with thousands of local volunteers to distribute millions of donated treatments to protect people against NTDs, and teach them about the importance of good hygiene to prevent infection.

Here you can find out more about the five neglected tropical diseases that Sightsavers works to treat and prevent (two of which are blinding, and three that are non-blinding), as well as the progress being made to combat them and, in some cases, eliminate them completely.

Eye surgeon Dr Ndalela examines a child's eyes to check for signs of trachoma.

The End is in Sight: our campaign to eliminate trachoma

We’re on a mission to stamp out the disease by 2025, but we need your help to banish it for good.

About our campaign

You can help us fight neglected tropical diseases

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Our NTD projects

Khady, 8, from Senegal is measured for her annual dose of Zithromax.

The Accelerate trachoma elimination programme

Accelerate aims to eliminate trachoma in at least 10 countries and speed up progress in several others by 2023.

Boy is held by his mother, he has a face washing guide in his hand.

Super School of 5

This project, in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia, introduces five superhero cartoon characters to encourage school children to wash their hands and face.

A man examines black fly larvae found near the the Agogo river in northern Uganda.

Onchocerciasis elimination mapping project

We’re working with our partners in Ghana and Nigeria to devise new ways to collect valuable data about river blindness.

A schoolboy splashes water on his face to learn about facewashing, as part of a SAFE initiative in Senegal.

SAFE: trachoma control

The SAFE strategy aims to control the spread of blinding trachoma via surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements.

A river blindness worker stands beside a river inspecting reeds for signs of black flies that carry the disease.

Reducing river blindness and lymphatic filariasis

River blindness and lymphatic filariasis are debilitating diseases caused by parasitic infections. But both can be treated using the same medication.

A close-up of a doctor holding a mobile phone.

mHealth: using mobile phones to fight disease

mHealth, which stands for ‘mobile health’, involves using mobile phones to collect data and provide training during global health programmes.

A patient in a surgical gown and cap, with a visible cataract in his left eye.

Coordinated Approach to Community Health (CATCH)

This programme, which finished in 2019., ensured that patients at trachoma camps who were diagnosed with another eye condition were given treatment.

Tropical Data

This large-scale project uses smartphones to gather data for targeting trachoma treatment as part of the global fight towards trachoma elimination.

School student Promise smiles outside her school.

UNITED in Nigeria

The six-year UNITED programme, funded by UK aid, delivered 158 million treatments in Nigeria to tackle neglected tropical diseases.

Learn how we’re fighting disease