It’s estimated that 200,000 people in Ghana are blind, more than half because of untreated cataracts. In 2016, Sightsavers helped to examine more than 63,000 people for eye conditions to enable them to be treated.
Ghana, located on the west coast of Africa, boasts consistent economic growth and political stability, yet avoidable blindness is still a problem. At least three neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are also endemic here.
Sightsavers is working in Ghana to eliminate river blindness, trachoma and lymphatic filariasis through mass drug administration (MDA), in which medication is given to large sections of the population to prevent the spread of the diseases. The project aims to train health workers and community drug distributors, who educate local people, screen them for NTDs and give out medication. It also aims to raise awareness and support for MDA through TV discussions and radio broadcasts.
Sunday Isiyaju joined Sightsavers more than 20 years ago. He says: “I enjoy seeing the smiles of people we’ve helped and knowing that we have contributed to changing and improving their lives.”
Meet 60-year-old Emmanuel, a fisherman who lost his sight after contracting a disease called river blindness. He worries that if children in his village aren’t protected from the disease, they will go blind too.
Luckily, Sightsavers is helping to distribute medication in Emmanuel’s village that can ease his symptoms and also prevent others from contracting river blindness. Read Emmanuel’s story.