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Our work in Tanzania

Sightsavers has been working in Tanzania since the 1970s to protect sight and prevent blinding diseases. In 2019, we helped to carry out 10,000 sight-saving operations in the country.

Asha runs down the road outside her home in Zanzibar days after a successful bilateral cataract operation.

In Tanzania, many people live in poorer or more remote areas and access to healthcare can be difficult.

All five of the most common neglected tropical diseases are present here: trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis (known as ‘snail fever’), and soil-transmitted helminths (AKA intestinal worms).

Sightsavers has been working in the country since the 1970s, helping to support and strengthen local eye care systems to tackle preventable blindness. We provide specialist training for health workers, increase public awareness of eye care and lobby the government to ensure eye care is universally available.

Our programmes in Tanzania mainly focus on preventing and treating trachoma, and providing cataract operations for those who need them. We also work to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

At a glance

Total population
  • 59 million

  • What we focus on
  • Trachoma
  • Cataracts

  • Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Tropical Data Project
  • Accelerate

  • Previous programmes
  • SAFE: trachoma control
  • Voices of the Marginalised
  • The Trachoma Initiative

  • We really appreciate all supporters who are contributing to Sightsavers. We can see the impact of what they’re doing.
    Dr Nyaluke, ophthalmologist in Tanzania
    Dr Paul Nyaluke.

    How we’re making a difference in Tanzania

    Bakir Rashid, 2, smiles as he walks with his father on a family outing to the beach days after a successful bilateral cataract operation.

    Treating cataracts

    Two-year-old Bakir was born with cataracts that severely affected his sight. But a straightforward operation restored his vision and his hope.
    Read Bakir’s story

    Fatuma sits quietly on a chair outside her home. Her eyes look sore and swollen.

    Fighting trachoma

    After having an operation to treat trachoma, Fatuma learned about the importance of washing her face to prevent the disease reoccuring.
    Read about trachoma prevention

    Sightsavers employee Sarah sitting on a boat with 12 other people.

    Reaching everyone

    Sightsavers’ Sarah Filbey visited an island near Zanzibar to find out how we’re helping to restore sight in remote, far-flung communities.
    Read about Sarah’s trip

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    More from Tanzania

    Amina covers one eye with her hand and smiles after cataract surgery.
    Sightsavers blog

    “Many people who would have gone blind have had their sight restored”

    Project coordinator Magdalena Focus talks about the challenges and successes of the community inclusive eye health project in Tanzania in 2020.

    Magdalena Focus, February 2021
    A group of children stand near an eye chart,.
    Sightsavers from the field

    A bright future: saving sight in Tanzania

    Across Tanzania, six newly qualified ophthalmic assistants are putting their skills to work supporting remote eye screening camps and testing sight in local hospitals.

    February 2021
    A group of surgeons wearing PPE perform eye surgery.
    Sightsavers from the field

    January 2021 updates: highlights from around the world

    In Côte d’Ivoire, eye health staff have been working to ensure eye surgery is COVID-safe. Plus news from Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Ghana and more

    January 2021
    Text logo reading Vision Excellence Awards - Vision 2020 The Right to Sight
    sightsavers_news

    Three Sightsavers nominees win Vision Excellence awards

    Three Sightsavers nominees from Tanzania have received recognition in the 2020 IAPB Vision Excellence awards.

    January 2021
    Children in a line.
    Sightsavers from the field

    How one project touched 34 million lives

    As the 17-year-long Seeing is Believing project comes to an end, Imran Khan goes behind the scenes to reveal why it has made such an impact.

    December 2020
    Four-year-old Paolo stands smiling in a doorway.
    Sightsavers Reports

    Paolo's story

    Paolo's family could not understand why he kept having problems with his eyes. Thankfully, training for a Sightsavers-supported programme was taking place nearby.

    A boy washes his face at a well.
    Sightsavers from the field

    July updates: highlights from around the world

    A young boy has his sight restored in Nigeria, plus news from Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Ghana.

    July 2020
    Fatuma from Tanzania laughing
    Sightsavers Reports

    Fatuma's story

    Fatuma is a grandmother from Ruangwa, Tanzania suffering with advanced trachoma. We follow her journey from near-blindness to the chance to see once again.

    A young man using a wheelchair on a road in Kenya.
    Sightsavers blog

    COVID-19: Africa’s economic recovery must leave no one behind

    Many people with disabilities work in the informal sector. Unless they can leave their house every day, they struggle to meet their basic needs. For them, the situation is dire.

    Edwinah Orowe, June 2020

    We save sight in 30 countries worldwide

    Where we work