Context

Trachoma and river blindness continue to be the two most dangerous major tropical infections when it comes to vision. According to the WHO, river blindness affects more than a billion people worldwide. Africa bears almost the entire global burden of river blindness, accounting for 30 of the 37 endemic countries worldwide and more than 99% of cases of the disease and the blindess which results. This infection is spread by the black fly which lives at the edge of rivers and lakes, and can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. 
Trachoma meanwhile affects 2 million people, who can go blind or suffer from visual impairment. Children are most affected by this disease, as it prevents them from receiving an education, greatly hampering their future opportunities.
In Burkina Faso, certain areas continue to be ravaged by these diseases. Eradication of these diseases is necessary if large-scale outbreaks in the country are to be prevented. 

 

Supported project

Supported by L'OCCITANE, NGO Sight Savers is helping the Ministry of Health to eliminate these two diseases in the Cascades region by 2021, which is one of the two regions in Burkina Faso where river blindness is still endemic. This elimination strategy is based around four main principles:
- Medical training focused on the treatment of trachoma and river blindness
- Screening campaigns and surgeries for trachoma and mass treatments for river blindness 

- Supplying material resources
- Adoption of the strategy by local communities
 

Some figures

The aim is to ensure that people living in the Cascades region are free of these diseases and that a system is established to monitor cases and respond should they reemerge.

2019 budget 115 000 euros

2019 goal 57 365 beneficiaries

History

Project supported since 2013

Total budget 695 624 euros

Total goal 83 158 beneficiaries

Since 2013, the L'Occitane Foundation has been supporting the activities of the NGO Sight Savers in order to eliminate river blindness and trachoma in the Cascades region of Burkina Faso. Specifically, this project is implementing prevention strategies recommended by the WHO. These include:
•    Awareness-raising and training of various community actors, mass distribution of medicines (Ivermectin) and evaluation and impact surveys for river blindness. 
•    Training of medical personnel, public awareness, provision of equipment, treatment (surgery) and trachoma assessments. 
Thanks to this project and as part of the fight to eliminate of trachoma, Sight Savers tested the TT+ approach for the first time in 2018 in Burkina Faso. The satisfactory results of this new approach have encouraged the NGO to continue using it in the area in coming years, and even to replicate it throughout the country if necessary. 
 

Testimony

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

"I did not know I could catch this disease [onchocerciasis] while we live so close to the river. Taking these drugs is good for us as they protect us from these diseases. "

Kone Sanata