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Our work in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of untreated cataracts worldwide. In 2018, Sightsavers helped to screen more than 950,000 people for eye conditions.

A woman holds her smiling son as they walk through a wooded area near their village.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, yet it has one of the highest rates of untreated cataracts worldwide.

Extreme poverty and a lack of awareness about health issues mean more than half a million people are thought to be blind as a result of cataracts.

Our work in Bangladesh focuses on screening people to diagnose eye problems, providing sight tests to check for refractive error, and supporting cataract operations to restore vision.

We also help to train volunteer community health workers, and run inclusive programmes to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to healthcare, education and employment opportunities.

At a glance

Total population
  • 161 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Disability rights

  • Key programmes
  • Right to Health
  • Cataract surgery
  • Inclusive Futures
  • Voices of the Marginalised
  • I thought I would be blind forever. Now I feel peace in my heart.
    Kulsum following her cataract surgery
    Cataract patient Kulsum smiles and embraces Sightsavers' staff member Mosheur.

    How we’re making a difference in Bangladesh

    Nine-year-old Polok smiles with his mother at home after undergoing cataract removal surgery.

    Treating cataracts

    Nine-year-old Polok from Bangladesh had cataracts that severely affected his vision. His cousin contacted Sightsavers on Facebook, and he was referred for sight-saving surgery.
    Read Polok’s story

    Smiling woman, who is a disability rights activist, wearing sunglasses and orange headscarf.

    Disability rights

    Jahanara was born blind and spent the first 27 years of life unable to leave the house. Now she’s a spokesperson empowering people with disabilities: when she talks, people listen.
    Read Jahanara’s story

    Reaching remote areas

    Sightsavers’ Ella Pierce met eight-year-old Suborna, who was in desperate need of a cataract operation, but lived several hours from the nearest city.
    Read Ella’s trip report

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    More from Bangladesh

    A man talking into a microphone.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Tackling disability discrimination with BBC Media Action

    In Bangladesh, we caught up with BBC Media Action to find out how they’re training journalists to improve how people with disabilities are portrayed in the media, and tackle negative stereotyping and perceptions.

    June 2020
    A man and women sat on a motorbike.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Mapping via motorbike

    This husband and wife team are helping us locate and support people with disabilities in Bangladesh.

    May 2020
    Landscape with rubbish and cows.
    Sightsavers from the field

    COVID-19: updates from around the world

    Find out how our staff and partners in Bangladesh, Nigeria, India and Senegal are adapting amid the COVID-19 crisis.

    May 2020
    A tuk tuk passes a group of women.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Meet the miking team, spreading the word about free eye health care

    In Bangladesh, we know the best way to make sure no one is left behind is to take health information directly to their doorstep. Enter the miking team!

    April 2020
    Women wait in line for eye screening tests.
    Sightsavers blog

    “We put a special focus on women with disabilities and their rights.”

    On international Women’s Day, Sightsavers' Asma Rashida highlights the additional prejudices women with disabilities face, and the important work of the Right to Health project.

    Sightsavers, March 2020
    Sightsavers Reports

    Claiming rights and restoring sight: Shamima’s story

    Shamima, who is hearing and speech impaired, has developed a unique way to communicate with her close family.

    A little boy smiles after having an eye exam.
    Sightsavers from the field

    January updates: highlights from around the world

    A baby born with cataracts is smiling again following surgery in Zambia, plus stories from India, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

    January 2020
    Deus Turyatemba stands next to an Inclusive Futures poster
    sightsavers_news

    Groundbreaking new programme will enable 2,000 people with disabilities to get better jobs

    The Inclusion Works programme, funded by UK aid and led by Sightsavers, will create job opportunities for more than 2,000 people with disabilities.

    July 2019
    Two surgeons at work in the operating theatre at Mymensingh hospital. They're wearing green scrubs.
    Sightsavers from the field

    The hospital in Bangladesh that’s restoring sight and changing lives

    Robbie Peacock and Ciara Smullen travelled to the northern town of Mymensingh to visit a hospital that is saving the sight of thousands of people a year.

    July 2019
    Two women hold up their index fingers after voting in the 2019 Indian general election.
    Sightsavers from the field

    May updates: highlights from around the world

    News from India, where Sightsavers campaigned to help people with disabilities take part in the recent general election. Plus updates from Mali, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

    May 2019
    A lady smiling outside a centre in Malawi which provides physiotherapy.
    sightsavers_news

    More UK funding announced for disability-inclusive employment initiatives

    The funding, which was announced by UK Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt, aims to address disability inclusion in developing countries.

    July 2018
    Surgical staff perform a cataract operation.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Watch cataract surgery condensed into one and a half minutes

    During a recent trip to Bangladesh, we filmed a time-lapse video of a Sightsavers cataract operation taking place at Khulna BNSB hospital.

    April 2018

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work