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Our work in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of untreated cataracts worldwide. In 2019, Sightsavers helped to screen more than one million 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

    Two women standing outside.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Reaching the transgender community in Bangladesh

    The transgender community often experience discrimination and lack access to healthcare. Meet some of the people who benefited from an eye health screening.

    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 caught up with 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.

    Children in a line.
    Sightsavers from the field

    How one project touched 34 million lives

    As the 17-year-long Seeing is Believing project comes to an end, Imran Khan goes behind the scenes to reveal why it has made such an impact.

    December 2020
    Patients at the community health centre wait to be examined.
    Sightsavers from the field

    November updates: highlights from around the world

    Following rigorous safety measures, we have been able to restart our work fighting disease and saving sight all over the world.

    November 2020
    Three people holding hands and smiling.
    Sightsavers from the field

    The businesses embracing disability inclusion

    Meet the teams that Sightsavers partners with around the world to help them foster more disability inclusive workplaces.

    November 2020
    A boy having his eyes checked. The ophthalmologist and the boy are both wearing face coverings and there is a protective screen between them.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Programme staff: “How we adapted our eye health projects during COVID-19”

    Sightsavers staff provide a first-hand insight into our work with ministries of health, partner hospitals and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    October 2020
    Many people sit outside waiting for an eye examination.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Nine steps to holding pop-up eye screening camps on the doorsteps of marginalised communities

    In February 2020, Sightsavers' Kirsty Bridger visited Bangladesh to learn how we organise our eye screening camps.

    October 2020
    Two Two women and a man stand outside a small home in an informal urban settlement.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Hasina feared she wouldn’t see people coming to demolish her home again

    Hasina lives in a camp in northern Bangladesh which has been demolished twice. Since developing cataracts, her fears of being homeless again were heightened.

    A man with a physical disability sits outside.
    Sightsavers Reports

    A lightning strike changed Yousub’s life forever

    Yousub has come up against decades-long hardships, but with with a sight-saving cataract operation, life is finally looking better. Here, he shares his remarkable story.

    A man who uses a wheelchair is assisted by another man to use a water tap to wash his hands.
    Sightsavers blog

    Disability and COVID-19 in Bangladesh: why urgent action is needed

    Sightsavers has identified focus areas for influencing the government and donor agencies to protect people with disabilities from the adverse impacts of COVID-19.

    Ayon Debnath, July 2020

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work