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River Blindness

By donating today you could save the sight of EIGHT times as many people.

I feel sure you will agree with me that few thoughts can be as distressing and life-changing as losing your sight. So imagine how it would feel to know that your sight could have been saved if only you had received simple and inexpensive treatment in time.

This is exactly what is facing thousands of people in poor communities like those living in Nigeria who are afflicted with painful conditions such as River Blindness. 

There’s a special urgency about this appeal. Not only is this a race against time to save people’s sight before it’s too late, but by giving now, your gift could be worth EIGHT times its value, helping to save the sight of EIGHT times as many people.

River Blindness, the common name for Onchocerciasis, is a major cause of blindness in Nigeria and much of sub-Saharan Africa.

The disease is caused by a parasitic worm carried by infected black flies that inhabit the river banks; and is transmitted to people through repeated bites of these flies.

Once in the human body, the worms produce baby larvae that migrate to the skin, eyes and other organs. What starts as bumps under the skin goes on to cause agonizing itching day and night. The eye swells and begins to close. Unless treated, blindness is almost inevitable – and irreversible.

There’s a drug called Mectizan which successfully treats River Blindness and saves people’s sight. We urgently need sufficient funds to get Mectizan distributed right across the country as soon as possible, including to people living in remote, hard-to-reach rural areas.

The drug itself is generously supplied free by the pharmaceutical company that makes it. But without our help many of these drugs just sit on the shelf. Helped by your donation we can ensure that these drugs are quickly distributed to the people who need it.

Each Mectizan treatment costs $4,90 which is paid for by the pharmaceutical company. And we estimate that distribution costs an average of $0,70 each treatment, making a total cost of $5,60 per person. This means that each $0,70 you give is effectively worth EIGHT times that amount.

But the impact of your generosity wouldn’t end there. We are working to eliminate River Blindness completely by 2025, meaning that people in countries like Nigeria would never have to face the risk of infection and blindness again. By making sure that more and more communities receive the Mectizan drug and trying to overcome the challenges of getting it to them, together we can make their desperate hope for the elimination of this horrible disease a reality.

Your donation, worth EIGHT times its value today, can transform the future of an entire community.