Sightsavers has been working in Malawi since the 1950s. Our focus in the country is to improve eye health, protect against blinding diseases and make sure children with disabilities receive the support they need.

A man is being led across a river by his wife. The water of the river is just below their knees.

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.

It’s thought that more than 160,000 people in Malawi have visual impairments, with half caused by cataracts.

Sightsavers started working in Malawi in the 1950s. Much of our work in the country involves helping to improve eye care services, particularly in rural areas, so people with visual impairments can be diagnosed and treated.

In Malawi, 8.2 million people live in areas at risk of trachoma, and more than 12,500 people have the advanced stage of the disease that can lead to blindness. Sightsavers is working to eliminate trachoma and provides vital outreach to isolated communities, enabling health workers to reach as many people as possible.

In 2017 we helped to distribute more than 1.2 million antibiotic treatments for trachoma and in 2018, we performed 596 operations for people with the advance stages of the disease. Surveys show the country is on track to eliminate the disease by 2019.

At a glance

Total population
  • 18 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Trachoma

    Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Tropical Data Project
  • A billion NTD treatments
  • CATCH: coordinated health

  • I am so happy. I can see what everyone is wearing – I can see all the colours. I am so thankful for this miracle!
    Nazondani, cataract patient from Malawi
    Nazondani smiles after her surgery.

    How we’re making a difference in Malawi

    Close up of Winesi's face smiling.

    Saving sight

    After years of struggle, Winesi has found happiness and hope for the future thanks to a cataract operation.
    Read Winesi’s story

    Three women standing together with a group of men in the background.

    Fighting disease

    Sightsavers' trachoma elimination programme launched in Malawi in 2014 to protect people from disease.
    Read about the programme

    Madalitso Nyangulu sitting on his motorcycle.

    Reaching remote areas

    Every Wednesday, Madalitso ventures into rural communities in Malawi to treat people with visual impairments.
    Read Madalitso’s story

    Your donation could help to protect sight


    More from Malawi

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    June 2019
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    Treating hard-to-reach people: what we’ve learned from CATCH

    The Coordinated Approach to Community Health programme, which finished in March 2019, has restored the sight of more than 21,000 people and generated a wealth of knowledge.

    Moses Chege, May 2019
    Two medical staff clean eyes of men in traditional african dress.
    Sightsavers from the field

    November updates: highlights from around the world

    News about a programme that has distributed more than 137,000 pairs of glasses across eight countries. Plus updates from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique and more.

    November 2018

    Winesi’s update

    After years of fear and struggle, Winesi and his family have found happiness and hope for the future thanks to a cataract operation funded by people like you.

    Health worker Dr Anselmo is interviewed for the TV advert.
    Sightsavers from the field

    March highlights: updates from around the world

    Including news from Liberia, where Sightsavers has reopened an eye clinic that has been closed for two years. Plus updates from Senegal, Malawi and more.

    March 2018
    Three women sat outside talking.
    Sightsavers blog

    Keeping up political momentum on disability and development

    By hosting a summit, the UK government is committing to making disability-inclusive development a global priority. We must make sure this political momentum is not lost.

    Natasha Kennedy, December 2017
    A riverbed with green bushes and trees at its edges.
    Sightsavers blog

    How field surveys can help us fight trachoma

    In February 2017, Sightsavers supported our partners with the ambitious task of conducting field surveys for trachoma in Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.

    Ruth Dixon, November 2017
    Trachoma patient Amadu Asama from Ghana is surrounded by her grandchildren following her successful operation.

    BBC invites Sightsavers to discuss trachoma elimination

    Sightsavers Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases Simon Bush was invited onto the radio programme to talk about whether the end is in sight for trachoma.

    May 2017
    A group of villagers sit on the grass while waiting to be screened for eye conditions at a health centre in Uganda.
    Sightsavers blog

    Eye health: the community approach

    The CATCH programme aims to ensure that people in trachoma-endemic areas benefit from improved health through the provision of eye care services.

    Sarah Bartlett, May 2017
    Sightsavers Senior Project Manager Bright Chiwaula with a patient following her trachoma operation.

    BBC highlights Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust’s work to eliminate trachoma

    The BBC’s live broadcast of the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey included a film about the Trust’s work in Malawi.

    March 2017
    Taonere and George

    Malawi's first Paralympian tells us her story

    Taonere Banda created history in Rio this year by being the first and only Malawian to compete in the Paralympics.

    November 2016
    A group of villagers sit on the ground under a tree during a CATCH screening camp in Mozambique.
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    WHO global action plan: slowly but surely…

    We ensure all our projects have an advocacy component, providing an opportunity for us to explore systemic and structural challenges that impact our work.

    Edwinah Orowe, October 2016

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work