Sightsavers –
Nigeria

Combatting River Blindness – Nigeria

In Africa 300,000 people have lost their sight because of river blindness, and more than 37 million people are infected. Sightsavers is close to eliminating the disease in some areas. To publicise this remarkable achievement a series of photographs were commissioned…

Sila Maigari, who lost his sight to river blindess forty years ago,poses for a photograph in his room, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago, and since then no more cases of blindness have been recorded.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) distribute Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. No cases of blindness have been reported since this programme started.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) measure a young girl to see how much, Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, she needs in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 9th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. The disease has now almost been eradicated.

Anna Banabas, who is blind, is helped to shell peanuts by her daughter in law, the only task she can now, the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. Since then no more cases have been reported.

Community Director Distributor's (CDD's) walk through a village to do their annual distribution of Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of WERE in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago.

A young girls listens to a Community Director Distributor (CDD's) carry out a sensitisation about the dangers of River Blindess in the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago, since this time no more cases of blindness have been recorded.

Women gather to listen to a Community Director Distributor (CDD's) carry out a sensitisation about the dangers of River Blindess in the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago, since this time no more cases of blindness have been recorded.

Community Director Distributor's (CDD's) walk through a village to do their annual distribution of Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 9th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago

Women return from a river after collecting water in the village of Garamach in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 9th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. The disease is transmitted by black flies that live and breed near river beds, making women particularly vulnerable to infection.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) distribute Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. In the ten years since Mectizan distribution started no more cases of blindness have been reported.

A young girl poses for a photograph while being measured to see how many doses of Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, she needs to take, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago - since this time no more cases have been recorded.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) measure a young girl to see how much, Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, she needs in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. The disease has now almost been eradicated.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) talk to a group of women before starting their distribution of Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago.

Sila Maigari, who lost his sight to river blindess forty years ago, is helped to stand up by his daughter in law, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago, and since then no more cases of blindness have been recorded.

Anna Banabas, who is blind, poses for a photograph with her daughter in law and grand daughter at their home in the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. Since then no more cases have been reported.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) measure a young boy before giving him Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. Now no more cases of blindness have been reported since then.

Community Director Distributor (CDD's) carry out a sensitisation about the dangers of River Blindess to a community gathering in the village of Were in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago, since this time no more cases of blindness have been recorded.

A woman washes her child in a river in the village of Were, in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 9th October, 2012. Rivers like this one are where the flies that spread river blindness breed. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. Since this time no new cases of River Blindness have been reported.

A woman collects water from the river in the village of Were, in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 9th October, 2012. Rivers like this one are where the flies that spread river blindness breed. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. Since this time no new cases of River Blindness have been reported.

Ajiyan Allah, who contracted River Blindness twenty years ago, is led out of her house by her grand daughter, Godiya, who is five years old, in the village of Garamach in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 9th October, 2012. River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. Since then no more cases have been reported.

Click here to see the slideshow featured on The Guardian

In Africa 300,000 people have lost their sight because of river blindness, an easily preventable disease, and more than 37 million people are infected. River blindness is caused by flies that breed along river beds. Sightsavers is close to breaking the cycle of infection in some areas and eliminating the disease.

 

Community Director Distributors (CDD’s) distribute Mectizan, the drug used to prevent river blindness, in the village of Kudaru in Kaduna, Nigeria on the 8th October, 2012.

 

River Blindness was endemic to this area before Sightsavers started their intervention by distributing Mectizan and sensitising the community to the risks of river blindness ten years ago. In the ten years since Mectizan distribution started no more cases of blindness have been reported.

 

To publicise this remarkable achievement a series of photographs was commissioned by Sightsavers. The photographs were edited into a slideshow and this was published on the Guardian Web site.

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