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Sightsavers Reports

“I noticed a long time ago I had eye problems”

Emmanuel smiling while standing in front of a tree.

Meet 65-year-old Emmanuel: he lost his sight while earning a living as a fisherman. How? Because of a disease called river blindness.

River blindness is caused by a parasitic worm transmitted by the bite of a river-breeding black fly. As its name suggests, river blindness can lead to visual impairments and can eventually cause sufferers to go blind.

Emmanuel’s story was documented in 2019.

Emmanuel fishing in the Pru River: he stands in knee-deep water while holding a fishing net.

“I noticed a long time ago I had a problem with my eyes”

When Emmanuel was younger he earned his living by fishing in the Pru River in his home town of Asubende in Ghana – it’s fishing in his local river that lead to him contracting river blindness. He said: “I noticed a long time ago I had a problem with my eyes but it started gradually, it didn’t come all of a sudden – but week by week.”

As well as eventual blindness, onchocerciasis can cause an intense and unbearable itching that can’t be stopped without treatment. But luckily for Emmanuel, and others in his village, generous donations from people like you have meant that the Mectizan® treatment is now distributed in Absubende, with the help of Sightsavers-supported volunteers.

 

Emmanuel walks through the fields outside his village, carrying his long white cane.

Protecting children in the village

Mectizan® doesn’t only help symptoms, it also protects other people in the village from contracting the disease. Now, thanks to the treatment, Emmanuel’s symptoms have subsided and he is able to work, socialise and earn a living. “I already have blindness, but we are now protecting the others, the little ones,” he explains.

Will you donate today to help us make sure that the people most in need of treatment, such as Emmanuel, continue to receive it?

Emmanuel grins while sitting on a chair outside his home.

“If we don't protect the children from river blindness, they could soon go blind too”

Emmanuel grins while sitting on a chair outside his home.

Will you donate to help people like Emmanuel?

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