Sightsavers’ main focus in Nigeria is controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
It’s thought that 128.9 million people in Nigeria are at risk of NTDs, and people living in poverty are particularly badly affected. In 2016, the Global Trachoma Mapping Project found that Nigeria had the second highest burden of trachoma in the world. As a result, we helped 22 states to map the prevalence of NTDs, so our programmes can be accurately targeted where they’re needed most.
In November 2017 we reached our target of providing one billion treatments for NTDs, with the billionth treatment given to a seven-year-old girl named Dorcas in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
As part of the Ascend West and Central Africa programme, Sightsavers worked with consortium partners to support Nigeria to combat five NTDs. In 2020, the programme helped to provide more than 1,500 operations for hydrocele, a symptom of lymphatic filariasis in men that causes painful scrotal swelling.
We work closely with local communities, and we use local volunteers to build trust and encourage people to accept the treatments provided to them. In 2021 we trained more than 131,000 community volunteers to give out medication.
Our work in the country also covers wider eye health. The Nigeria Eye Health Programme, which launched in 2017, has helped to ensure thousands of people are able to be diagnosed and treated for eye conditions. More than 600 children have had sight-saving cataract surgery, almost 900,000 children have been screened for signs of visual impairment, and 3,850 health staff have been trained to help them diagnose and treat patients.