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

    1 / 2

    Your donation could help to protect sight


    More from Malawi

    A montage of handwritten letters and photos from Malawi.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Letters from Malawi

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

    Vainesi smiles and claps outside her home in Malawi.

    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
    Priscilla Mhango (31), an Opthalamic Resident at Lions Sight First Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. She is currently under training supported by Sightsavers.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Priscilla's story

    Dr Priscilla Mhango is an eye health hero, saving sight in Malawi. She’s one of the talented cataract surgeons whose training was supported by Sightsavers.

    Mary stands holding a book after her cataracts operation.
    Sightsavers Reports

    “I’m so happy I can see my grandfather again!”

    Mary has regained her sight and independence after a successful cataracts operation, enabling her to return to school and play with other children.

    A group of young children playing on a climbing frame outside a school
    Sightsavers from the field

    Education, not discrimination: Malawi’s inclusive pre-schools

    An inclusive education project in Malawi is challenging stigma and changing lives by enabling young children with disabilities to attend pre-school alongside their peers.

    September 2021
    An eye health worker wearing a mask shines a light into a woman's eyes to check for signs of trachoma. Another eye health worker stands nearby.
    Sightsavers from the field

    June 2021 update: highlights from around the world

    A round-up of our work that your donations are helping to support, including news from India, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Malawi.

    June 2021

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work