81% of visual deterioration could be prevented, if diagnosed and treated early, says the World Health Organization. That is not a small amount. The United States alone could save over 100 billion dollars with appropriate eye care services. Programs like Sightsavers, through donations and grant funding, are working to reduce this physical and financial burden that many people deal with. One way of doing this is by the creation of the Sightsavers Deworming Program.
The Sightsavers Deworming Program focuses on reducing parasite populations in human communities. This helps with such things as “River blindness”, better known as onchocerciasis. Onchocerciasis is one of many neglected tropical diseases that becomes problematic when an individual is bitten and infected with larvae. The larvae grow into adult worms which reproduce at immense rates and can spread throughout the body. If these worms reach the eye, impairment can occur.
Our colleague Kate followed a surgical outreach team as they were tracking down and treating the final cases of blinding #trachoma in northern Ghana. In the photo is Fusi, ophthalmic nurse. LINK IN BIO: http://po.st/trachoma-final-days. 📷 Ruth McDowell. #sightsavers #sight #sightloss #vision #blindness #visionloss #beatNTDs #NoMoreNTDs #ghana #africa #westafrica #discoverportrait #portraitphotography #portraitpage #peopleinframe #smiling
The reduction of worms in communities is not only directly related to reducing cases of sight impairment but is also highly cost-effective. GiveWell, the main grant provider for Sightsavers, states that medication can be distributed at a cost of only .55 cents per patient. This allows for entire communities to be treated together reducing the chances of reinfection. These medications also have fairly mild symptoms and can be used on most individuals, even children. To continue this work, however, Sightsavers is looking for extra grant funding to extend this program into years and years to come.
To see the impact of Sightsavers treatments we can watch the video “Trachoma elimination in Ghana”. The video announces how in June of 2018 Ghana is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate trachoma. Trachoma is a bacterial disease that can lead to blindness. In the video, Sightsavers sent a team door to door to confirm with the last set of patients that their Trachoma had fully cleared and it had. Congratulations to all who donated, were involved and who have recovered.