Happy World Sight Day! In honor of this day, were featuring a guest blog post from Simon Bush of SightSavers.
By: Simon Bush, Director of Advocacy and African Alliances at Sightsavers
International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC), trachoma blinds four people every hour. It is a disease of poverty inextricably linked to a lack of sanitation, which causes repeated eye infections that can lead to blindness if left untreated. It is known as a neglected tropical disease (NTD), meaning that it receives little attention or funding despite its heavy impact on the lives of people suffering from it.
We know from Sightsavers’ work across Africa and Asia, and from the work of other organizations that strategies for controlling blinding NTDs are already proving to be cost effective with a strong record of success, so it seems wrong that a disease like trachoma remains largely ignored and untreated.
This is why today, on World Sight Day, Sightsavers is making the biggest single commitment we have ever made £62 million ($97.5 million) – to eradicate this terrible disease within the next ten years. We are taking unprecedented steps to ensure that trachoma is eliminated from the 14 African and Asian countries where it is endemic, by 2020.
By treating trachoma, alongside other NTDs such as schistosomiasis, we know that we can make a significant difference to people’s lives. Aside from the constant pain of later stage trachoma, called trichaisis, blindness can have a devastating blow on people’s livelihoods in developing countries. As there is often little support available to people living with disabilities in the developing world, they and their families have little chance of ending the cycle that keeps them in poverty, which is why tangible solutions to curing and preventing disability are so important. Read more: Is the end in sight for trachoma?
February 10th, 2011
By: Marthe Damina, Project Officer with Sightsavers
This week, my colleagues in the United Kingdom will present Sightsavers’ initial findings of a pilot neglected tropical diseases (NTD) project that I worked on in Nigeria, to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and NTDs. The pilot programme in Zamfara State is groundbreaking for Sightsavers and for the area.
Groundbreaking for us as it’s the first time Sightsavers has invested in treating NTDs outside of the blindingtrachoma, which we’ve been supporting the control of in the area since 1996 and 2003 respectively.
Groundbreaking for Zamfara because it’s the first time that state-wide NTD prevalence mapping has taken place in Nigeria. The mapping of three of the top five NTDs showed a prevalence range of 8.8% to 48.1% for lymphatic filariasis (LF). These diseases have serious implications for childhood growth, intellectual development, educational outcomes and productivity.
Read more: Success in the fight against NTDs in Zamfara, Nigeria
July 27th, 2010
Sightsavers has been working with its partners to tackle this neglected tropical disease (NTD) and ensure that it is eliminated as a threat to some 120 million people worldwide, 99 percent of whom live in Africa. Sir John Wilson, who founded Sightsavers 60 years ago and was himself blind, first noted the devastating effects of the disease for himself when he visited Ghana in 1947, and coined the name river blindness to describe it. Sightsavers was then involved in the first groundbreaking research into this NTD and has since become a world leader in this field.
Read more: Hope protection against blinding disease delivered to millions