In Burkina Faso, visual impairment affects 25% of the total population (4.75 million people in a population of 19 million), and that population is still growing. The need for eye treatments is currently increasing more quickly than the ability to train and deploy eye healthcare professionals. There were 35 ophthalmologists1 in the country in 2017, and only 7 of them worked outside of  Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso (the two largest cities in Burkina Faso). This means that in rural areas, where 75% of the population live, there is fewer than one ophthalmologist per 2 million people2, which make access to eye healthcare not just very difficult, but almost impossible. In addition, at primary and community levels, where most eye diseases can be prevented or treated, health workers still have very little knowledge on the subject and often lack insurance and equipment.

1Training for four of them was financed by L'OCCITANE between 2012 and 2017. 

2The World Health Organisation recommends one ophthalmologist per 250,000 people.


Supported project

In Burkina Faso, the L'OCCITANE foundation supports NGO Light for the World, which provides assistance to the Ministry of Health in improving the ocular health of the rural population. The partnership with this NGO is made through 2 projects:

  • Training healthcare workers across the whole country
    The project seeking to train medical staff aims to bolster the professional healthcare workforce in Burkina Faso through specialisation training.It also sets out to provide adequate tools in order to facilitate the activities of the trained workers.
  • Improving access to quality healthcare
    This project aims to improve access to ocular healthcare in the Central-West region of Burkina Faso, in particular through: 
    - Strengthening the capacity of health centres through training and the provision of equipment
    - The implementation of screening and treatment campaigns  across all health districts in the region
    - Eye health promotion through public awareness activities including ongoing acuity tests in primary schools 

Some figures

The aim is to provide thorough, quality eye care. The project intends to extend this care across a larger part of the country.

2020 Budget 174.700 euros

2020 Goal 24.200 beneficiaries


Project supported since 2012

Total budget 1.501.464 euros

Total results 164.660 beneficiaries

The Foundation has been supporting the NGO Light for the World since 2012 as part of its partnership with Burkina Faso's Ministry of Health, which aims to improve ocular health. This assistance takes the form of both administrative and operational support. As part of this work, the Foundation has supported:

  • The development of two strategic plans (national and regional) for ocular health. These plans now provide a framework for all activities in the fight against avoidable blindness up until 2020. 
  • The training and assignment of new ophthalmologists to rural areas to improve access to quality care in these areas. 
  • Strengthening the supply of quality eye care in the Centre-West through the training of health personnel, the provision of adequate equipment and consumables and the implementation of awareness, information, screening and treatment campaigns .

The partnership with this NGO has developed a great deal, and now includes:

  • Holistic training for healthcare and eye health workers in the country
  • A specific focus on children throughout training, with awareness-raising and monitoring of school teachers so that visual acuity tests can be carried out using appropriate tools  Children with visual impairments diagnosed using this system are directed towards healthcare centres


"I'm happy that this tool was able to detect what was wrong with me. It meant that I could get proper treatment. I hope that it in the meantime I can make peace with this problem and stay positive." 

Hilari Nikiéma, a beneficiary.

Hilari Nikiéma

"Before the arrival of the free equipment, the situation was not easy. At the end of 2015, we did not have enough slit lamps and we were all using the same lamp. In this situation, we had to queue to be able to examine our own patients. people were forced to wait until we finished consulting their patients. The new equipment allows us to save time in consulting our patients. We are fortunate that this machine is equipped with a spy that allows the student to follow along and to learn how to recognize eye lesions. The supplies of consumables also allow us to fund the eye without worrying about the availability of the product within the hospital, to help needy patients…. All this can only make us happy !" 

Doctor Alassane TRAORE, a 3rd year specialization student in ophthalmology, like the other students of his promotion, strives to relieve and provide adequate care to the various patients of the ophthalmological service of CHU YO. The job of a 3rd year DES is to consult and treat incoming patients, hospitalized and to be a surgeon's assistant in the operating room under the supervision of teachers.

LFTW témoignage médecin