Neglected tropical diseases are a group of 17 bacterial and parasitic infections that frequently occur among low-income populations in developing regions. 12 million people are at risk of these diseases in Ghana. Sightsavers seeks to reduce the prevalence of these two diseases by 2020: onchocerciasis (or river blindness), which can cause severe irritation and irreversible blindness, and lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis), whose most striking symptom is a severe swelling of the skin and sub-cutaneous tissues. Lymphatic filariasis is caused by parasitic worms and river blindness is transmitted by the bite of infected black flies, which develop into worms.
The program is expected to protect 4.5 million Ghanaians from river blindness and 1 million from lymphatic filariasis. To achieve this, in 2017, it has:
The Air Liquide Foundation supports the various measures instituted by this program. For example, it has financed 500 community registers for volunteer drug distributors to organize the distribution of medication, six motorbikes for community healthcare workers, as well as the training of medical and volunteer personnel. The Air Liquide Foundation’s grant also enables the project to evaluate the quality of the data collected under the five-year program.