River blindness is endemic in the country, with an estimated 50.3 million people at risk of going blind from the disease. There are also an estimated 48 million people at risk of lymphatic filariasis (LF).
Building on the work of a UK aid programme, we have helped to control neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as river blindness and LF through the UK aid flagship NTD programme Ascend West and Central Africa. Sightsavers and its fellow consortium members have supported ministries to protect communities in DRC from these debilitating diseases, train health workers and distribute medication across communities to stop the spread of river blindness and LF.
The programme has helped patients to manage the symptoms of LF, including teaching them how to clean infections and showing them exercises to reduce swelling. Surgery has also been provided for male patients who have hydrocele, a symptom of LF that causes swelling of the scrotum.
The country may have a high burdens of neglected tropical diseases, but people on the ground such as Nurse Lokoto are working tirelessly to protect communities.Read the story
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A selection of Sightsavers river blindness photographs featured as part of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) conference.