In 2016, Sightsavers work in Nigeria included distributing 60 million treatments for neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma, and training more than 63,000 volunteers to give out medication.
Sightsavers has been working in Nigeria for more than 60 years. In the 1950s and 60s, our work mainly focused on rehabilitation for people with visual impairments. In 1988, in partnership with the National Eye Centre, we began to support the Kaduna State Eye Care Programme and National Programme for the Prevention of Blindness, with a pilot programme to treat river blindness, one of a group of conditions known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Over the years our programmes have focused on providing eye health services to eliminate avoidable blindness, supporting inclusive education for children with visual impairments and organising social projects to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities.
Our work in Nigeria today focuses on controlling and eliminating NTDs across 13 states. Since 2013, we’ve helped 22 states to map the prevalence of NTDs, so our programmes are accurately targeted where they’re needed most. We are on course to eliminate these diseases in the states in which we work by 2021.
Sightsavers manages the Coordinated Approach To Eye Health (CATCH) project in several countries, including Nigeria, which aims to improve treatment for people from areas where trachoma is present.
Sightsavers coordinates trachoma camps with other eye care services, meaning people who arrive at the camp with eye problems other than trachoma, such as cataracts, can be referred for treatment elsewhere. The CATCH programme also aims to improve local health systems to ensure patients are able to receive a high standard of eye care in the future.
Nigeria carries 25 per cent of Africa’s burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). To help tackle this issue, UK aid is funding the UNITED project, which aims to deliver 112 million treatments for seven neglected tropical diseases in Nigeria.Find out more