Sightsavers in The Gambia

We’re working with the government in The Gambia and our partners across Africa to strengthen eye health services so everyone can access quality care.

The Gambia is the smallest nation in West Africa. Its namesake, the Gambia River, flows through the country.

The Gambian government is committed to universal health coverage and all residents can access health care for a fee. However, the public system is unfunded and lacks vital medicines, so many Gambians face additional costs if they use private services during their treatment.

Trachoma, a neglected tropical disease that can cause blindness, used to be endemic in many parts of the country. Sightsavers worked with the ministry of health to control and eliminate trachoma by distributing antibiotics, treating people with and monitoring cases. In April 2021, the World Health Organization confirmed that The Gambia had eliminated trachoma as a public health issue.

Now, our focus in the country is on ensuring that everyone can access quality eye care services by screening people for eye conditions and providing spectacles for those with refractive error.

The Gambia facts

  • Population: 2 million
  • Capital: Banjul
  • Official language: English
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 174 (low)
A white and yellow icon representing an eye with cataracts. The pupil and iris are covered with dashed yellow lines.

220,000 people in The Gambia are thought to have vision loss

There is only one ophthalmologist for every million people

481,000 people need medication to protect them from disease

Sources: IAPB, ESPEN

How you can help

Our work in The Gambia helped to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem, but there’s still more we need to do to improve health care in the country.

With your support, we want to establish high-quality eye care services to treat conditions like refractive error and cataracts, which can cause visual impairment and blindness. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our work in The Gambia. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in The Gambia, would like details about our programmes or want to discuss ways you can donate or support us, email [email protected]

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