Trachoma and onchocerciasis are still the two major tropical infections most dangerous to eyesight. According to the WHO, onchocerciasis affects more than a billion people worldwide. Africa bears almost the entire global burden of onchocerciasis, with 30 of the 37 endemic countries in the world and more than 99% of onchocerciasis and related blindness cases. This infection is spread through the bite of a black fly, living near lakes and rivers, which, if left untreated, leads to permanent blindness. 

Trachoma, on the other hand, affects 2 million people. If left untreated, over time it causes scarring to the eyelid that pulls the eyelashes inward, so with every blink they scrape against the eye, which can lead to sight-loss.. It is children who are most affected by this disease, preventing them from receiving an education and severely handicapping them for the future.

In Burkina Faso, these diseases are still rife in some areas. Elimination of these diseases is necessary to avoid a large-scale expansion in the country. 


Supported project

With the support of L'OCCITANE, the NGO Sightsavers supports the Ministry of Health in the elimination of these 2 pathologies in the Cascades region, one of the 2 regions still endemic of onchocerciasis in Burkina. This elimination strategy revolves around 4 axes:

  • Medical training aimed at the treatment of trachoma and onchocerciasis;
  • Campaigns for screening and surgical operations for Ttrachoma and mass treatment for onchocerciasis;
  • Supply of material resources;
  • Ownership of the strategy by local communities.

Some figures

The objective is to ensure that the inhabitants of the Cascades region are rid of these pathologies and to set up a system of surveillance and management of possible cases of recidivism.

2020 budget 185.500 euros

2020 goal 58.714 beneficiaries


Project supported since 2013

Total budget 881.124 euros

Results 89.490 beneficiaries

Since 2013, the L'OCCITANE Foundation has supported the actions of the NGO Sightsavers to eliminate onchocerciasis and trachoma in the Cascades region of Burkina Faso. This project particularly puts into practice the control strategies recommended by the WHO. These include:

  • Sensitization and training of the various community actors, mass distribution of drugs (Ivermectin) and the conduct of evaluation and impact surveys, with regard to the onchocerciasis.
  • Training of medical personnel, sensitization of the population, provision of equipment, treatment (surgery) and carrying out assessments with regard to trachoma. 

Thanks to this project and within the framework of the elimination of trachoma, Sightsavers piloted in 2018 for the first time in Burkina Faso, the TT + approach. The satisfactory results of this new approach encourage the NGO to renew it over the coming years in the area or even to replicate it throughout the country if necessary.  



Kone Sanata, 35 years old and mother of 6 children.

"I didn't know I could get this disease [onchocerciasis] WHILE we live so close to the river. Taking these drugs is good for us because they protect us from these diseases."

Kone Sanata