Our work in Malawi

Sightsavers has been working in Malawi since the 1950s. In September 2022, Malawi was confirmed as the first country in southern Africa to eliminate trachoma, thanks to the work of Sightsavers and our partners.

Young girl walking hand in hand with her mother through greenery

Breaking news: trachoma has been eliminated in Malawi

Read the news story

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. Almost 85 per cent of the population lives in remote, rural communities that are far from the country’s few eye health centres.

Sightsavers began working in Malawi in the 1950s. In September 2022, the World Health Organization confirmed that Malawi was the first country in south-east Africa to eliminate trachoma, thanks to the work of Sightsavers and our partners.

We’re also continuing to support the Ministry of Health to distribute medication that protects people from river blindness, with nearly 2.5 million people thought to be at risk from the disease in the country.

Much of our work in Malawi involves helping to improve eye care services, particularly in rural areas, so people with visual impairments can be diagnosed and treated. It’s thought that more than 200,000 people in the country have visual impairments, with half caused by cataracts.

We’re also training teachers to make sure children with disabilities are able to go to school and learn alongside their peers. We’re currently focusing on early years education and developing community-based childcare centres.

At a glance

Total population
  • 19.1 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • River blindness
  • Education

    Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Tropical Data Project

  • Previous programmes
  • CATCH: coordinated health
  • The Trachoma Initiative
  • Hecmond has cerebral palsy. Without the caregivers at his school, I don’t think life would be as it is today.
    Martha, Hecmond’s mother
    Hecmond sits on a chair wearing a red t-shirt while his mother reaches out to him.

    How we’re making a difference in Malawi

    A woman standing in a roomful of other people. She is covering one eye with her hand.

    Fighting disease

    Sightsavers is working to eliminate debilitating neglected tropical diseases, such as trachoma, in the country. Find out how Malawi is faring as it inches closer to stamping out trachoma for good. Read the blog

    Young children hold hands in a circle outside.

    Leaving no one behind

    We're training teachers and caregivers how to include children with disabilities at pre-school, so they are able to develop their physical and cognitive skills and play alongside other children. About the project

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    We are… ensuring pre-schools are inclusive

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    Hear first-hand how people’s lives have been transformed now that trachoma has been eliminated in the country.

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    Trachoma is eliminated in Malawi

    Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa to eliminate the infectious eye disease trachoma, as confirmed by the World Health Organization.

    September 2022

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work