Traditionally, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis have been treated through individual programmes. But because they are often detected in the same areas and can both be treated with medication, Sightsavers treats both of the diseases together using mass drug administration.
In 2022, Sightsavers helped to distribute more than 44 million treatments for river blindness. Since our work began 70 years ago, we’ve provided more than 11.8 million operations worldwide to protect eyesight.
As part of our push to eliminate river blindness, in November 2017 we achieved a historic milestone: distributing the one billionth treatment to people affected by neglected tropical diseases. The billionth treatment, an antibiotic for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, was administered to a seven-year-old girl named Dorcas, who was at risk of NTDs in a community in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
Sightsavers’ Phil Downs explains why the funding pledge is a huge step towards tackling the two neglected tropical diseases and eliminating them for good.
Sightsavers’ Simon Bush has received a lifetime achievement award for his work on river blindness, and has been named president of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Since 1991, Sightsavers been helping Mali’s ministry of health to treat and prevent this blinding disease. Now the country is on track to banish it for good.