Our work in Sierra Leone

Sightsavers has been working in Sierra Leone since the 1960s. Our focus is on treating cataracts and preventing the spread of neglected tropical diseases.

Ibrahim crouches down to check Samuel's eyes for trachoma

Sightsavers is working to eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Sierra Leone, particularly river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

It’s thought that 5.8 million people need medication to protect them against river blindness, and more than 2.7 million people for lymphatic filariasis. To tackle this, we’ve trained more than 29,000 community volunteers to give out medication and distributed almost 10 million treatments in the country.

We also aim to improve the quality of eye health services in the country and ensure more people can access them.

As part of our inclusive education project in the Bombali district of Sierra Leone, funded by the European Union, we support children with disabilities, particularly girls, to make sure they have a chance to go to school. We are working with partners to improve 45 schools and train teachers so they have the specialist skills to help children learn.

At a glance

Total population
  • 7.3 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • River blindness
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Inclusive education

  • Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Ascend

  • Previous programmes
  • Reducing river blindness
  • It is so important to send children with disabilities to school, because they too have goals like any other children.
    Hassanatu, inclusive education teacher
    Teach Hassanatu helps pupils in the classroom.

    How we’re making a difference in Sierra Leone

    Staff from Makeni Hospital's eyecare team smile for the camera.

    Protecting sight

    We train eye care workers such as Abubakar and his team so they can save sight across the country.
    Meet the team

    Students from Gbendembu School in Sierra Leone.

    Access to education

    Our inclusive education project enables children with disabilities to learn alongside their peers.
    Read about the project

    A group of children stand in a ring, while other children play around them on a grassy plain.

    Disability rights

    Girls in particular are often left out of education. We' make sure girls with disabilities can go to school.
    Read their stories

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    More from Sierra Leone

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    A close-up of a plastic vial containing the flies that transmit river blindness.

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    October 2020
    A boy using a phone with his father sitting behind.
    Sightsavers from the field

    Programme staff explain how we’re supporting children's learning during lockdown

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    July 2020

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work