Sightsavers in Benin

We work with the government and partners in Benin and countries across Africa to deliver vital charity work and protect people from neglected tropical diseases.

Benin, located in West Africa, has a young population. Most citizens are aged between 15 and 35 years old, and agriculture is the main source of income.

While the health care system has improved in recent years, low investment means there is a lack of qualified staff, and resources such as medical equipment and medicines are scarce.

People living in rural areas often struggle to access quality eye care, which means many people have cataracts.

In May 2023, with support from Sightsavers and partners, Benin announced it had eliminated trachoma. Now, our work on neglected tropical diseases in the country focuses on fighting river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

Facts about Benin

  • Population: 14 million
  • Capital: Porto-Novo
  • Official language: French
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 166 (low)

Four of the tropical diseases we treat are widespread in Benin

A white and yellow icon of a small bottle of medicine, with one round tablet leaning on its side.

7 million people need treatment for at least one of these diseases

Sources: WHO, ESPEN

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Adou stands in a lush green field with two cows.

What are the challenges in Benin, and how can these be addressed?

Adou stands in a lush green field with two cows.

Infectious diseases

Neglected tropical diseases pose a high risk to people in Benin, with the potential to cause serious illness and disability.

River blindness and lymphatic filariasis are endemic in many areas of Benin, and Sightsavers’ charity work in the country focuses on preventing, treating and eliminating these two infectious diseases. Schistosomiasis and intestinal worms are also widespread in the country.

Pelagie collects blood samples in the field during a river blindness survey.

How we’re tackling disease in Benin

Treatment campaigns

Sightsavers supports Benin’s ministry of health to distribute free medication that protects people from diseases.
About mass drug administration

Training volunteers

We train local volunteers to distribute medication and refer people for treatment where needed.
Learn about local volunteers

Harnessing technology

Digital technology is helping to eliminate diseases by enabling us to collect and analyse patient data.
How mobile phones are saving sight

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Adou smiles outside his home.

“After the bandage was removed, I rode my motorcycle back home. Now I can see a lot. Now I can look at the sun!”

Adou smiles outside his home.
Adou from Borgou was treated for advanced trachoma

How you can help

Our work in Benin helped to eliminate trachoma, but there’s still more we need to do.

With your support, we want to eliminate river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in Benin, so no one is at risk of losing their sight or developing a long-term condition from contracting these diseases. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our programmes in Benin. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in Benin, would like more information about our programmes or wish to discuss ways you can donate or support us, email [email protected]

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