Our work in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of untreated cataracts worldwide. In 2020, Sightsavers helped to screen more than 710,000 people for eye conditions.

A group of women and men in colourful clothing queue up outside; there are palm trees overhead.

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 had cataracts in both eyes: it was very difficult. But after the operation I see things very clearly.
    Azimunnisa after cataract surgery
    An older women smiling.

    How we’re making a difference in Bangladesh

    A man standing in front of a van.

    Treating cataracts

    Arif received Sightsavers-funded cataract surgery as a young child. Fifteen years later we caught up with Arif, now working as a driver, to see how his life was transformed.
    Read Arif'story

    A man talking into a microphone.

    Disability rights

    As part of the Inclusive Futures initiative, we're working with BBC Media Action to train journalists to change the way people with disabilities are portrayed.
    Read about the project

    A woman rests her head on a man's shoulder.

    Reaching everyone

    People with disabilities often miss out on health care in Bangladesh. Meet Jalil and Ayesha, who travel house to house, to ensure everyone gets the support they need.
    Read their story

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    Two women standing outside.
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    Reaching Bangladesh’s transgender community

    The transgender community often experiences discrimination and can find it hard to access healthcare. Meet some of the people who benefited from a Sightsavers eye health screening aimed at marginalised groups.

    A young man sitting in the driver seat of a van.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Arif’s life changed after an operation as a child: a 15-year story

    As a young child, Arif had a low-cost cataract operation through Sightsavers. It changed his life, enabling him to study and thrive at school, and later to leave home and find a job.

    Three men stand outside a hospital entrance.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Catching up with the health workers Sightsavers trained more than 10 years ago

    We met healthcare professionals at an eye hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh who were trained more than a decade ago as part of the Seeing is Believing project.

    A smiling women stands in a doorway.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Azimunnisa’s story

    We caught up with Azimunnisa, who lives in a informal urban settlement in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 11 years after her cataract operation to find out how life has changed.

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    Where we work