River Blindness – Nigeria

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River Blindness – Nigeria


Save children and adults from unbearable pain and life-long blindness. The impact of your gift will be multiplied x7.

Your donation will be multiplied seven times thanks to Merck and Mectizan tablets provided free and distributed by cbm field team partners.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) cause excruciating pain and chronic disability to more than one billion people infected in the poorest communities of the world. Approximately 90% of these diseases can be treated with medicines administered once or twice a year.

This programme aims to contribute towards the control and elimination of five debilitating NTDs – River Blindness, Trachoma, Elephantiasis, Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminths. The goal of this project is to follow World Health Organisation approaches to contribute to the elimination of NTDs in Nigeria.


Africa has the highest burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the world. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and is facing disproportionately large risks for contracting and transmitting these debilitating diseases. Several NTDs affect vision and can lead to permanent visual loss.

An estimated 31 million people in Nigeria are at risk of blindness and a variety of debilitating and disfiguring skin conditions from Onchocerciasis (River Blindness).

8.7 million Nigerians are at risk of Trachoma where, if left untreated, the disease causes eyelids to turn inwards resulting in pain in the eyes and eventual blindness.

Other diseases such as Lymphatic Filariases commonly known as Elephantiasis transmitted through mosquitoes, can cause permanent disability through severe swelling of arms, legs and body parts. Approximately 88 million Nigerians are at risk of contracting the disease.

Nigeria has the highest burden of Schistosomiasis in Africa, a parasitic disease that penetrates the skin of people in the water which can cause cancer of the bladder, anaemia, liver dysfunction and more.

Nigeria also has one of the highest risk of Soil Transmitted Helminths which is caused by the ingestion of eggs from contaminated soil. Commonly this inflicts school-aged children from impoverished rural communities with a wide range of symptoms including diarrhoea, anaemia, and impairment of growth.

These diseases thrive in impoverished, tropical regions where there is poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water, numerous insects to spread disease and little access to health services and Government support.


  • Distributing essential preventive drug treatments to rural communities.
  • Improving access to safe water and hygiene practices to reduce transmission of disease.
  • Supporting the Government of Nigeria to run public awareness campaigns.

Additional information


One-off, Every Week, Every 2 Weeks, Every 4 Weeks, Every Month, Quarterly, Annually


Please help break the cycle of unbearable pain and life-long sight loss caused by River Blindness.

Your gift will be multiplied x7.

“I know the plans I have for you… plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Muni from Nigeria has been held captive for decades by the Neglected Tropical Disease called River Blindness, which causes unbearable parasitic inflammation and life-long sight loss.

Even with her own feelings of sadness, Muni says, “I’m glad no-one has to face my fate anymore.”

Her gladness is because of the amazing difference people like you have made in helping to protect children in her village from the pain and sight loss caused by River Blindness.

Because of people like you, the children in Muni’s village have good clear eyes. Their bodies are free from sight-stealing parasites!

But how quickly this could change though, without an annual dose of parasite-killing medication. The younger generation need their medication every year, right on time.

Please send a generation-changing, sight-protecting gift today. Your gift to break the cycle of River Blindness will be multiplied x7 to help protect children’s eyes.

Muni is glad that the sight of children and adults in her village is safe for now, and that their future is brighter, but she is terribly sad about her own situation.

“I have been waiting to die for a long time. I have been blind for half my life,” Muni mourns. “I can’t do anything on my own. I always wished that my children would have a better life than me. But they became blind too!”

The cycle of Muni’s River Blindness began decades ago, down by the river where the bites of teeming black flies infest people with tiny parasitic worms.

“Together with my husband, who died years ago, I went farming every day, then caught fish to cook and sell. That is how we survived. But the flies were always there.”

The worms bred in Muni’s body. Hundreds of thousands of young parasites. When the worms are young… and only then… can they be wiped out by the parasite-killing medication.

If the medication is delivered too late, the worms mature and can no longer be killed. They form colonies called nodules – hard lumps of knotted worms under the skin. There they pump out more worms, breeding and dying off, for up to 20 years!

The cycle of worms breeding and dying causes unbearable inflammation. They call this parasitic disease Onchocerciasis, also known as River Blindness.

Please help break the cycle of unbearable pain and life-long sight loss caused by River Blindness. It is vital to get the parasite-killing medication to more remote villages, every year.

The medication itself is donated by a large pharmaceutical company. Your gift will help get the medicine to these remote villages, and create awareness of the risk of River Blindness. You will also be helping to improve sanitation and hygiene, to reduce the risk of Neglected Tropical Diseases like Onchocerciasis/River Blindness.

For every $1 you send, $7 of parasite-killing medication reaches the people who need it. So the impact of your gift is actually being multiplied x7. Please send your River Blindness gift today.

Muni’s body was infested with parasites decades before the parasite-killing medication was available in remote villages like hers.

“My skin was itching a lot. The itching became pain. It never stopped. My head. My chest. My back. My leg. It was unbearable.”

This itching is caused by toxins released at the end of the mature parasites’ life-cycle.

The inflammation is so bad that people, with unbearable itching and pain, dig at their own skin with any sharp edge they can find. Imagine the itching being worse than the pain of cutting your own flesh, trying to dig out the worms.

This digging, gouging and cutting causes unsightly scarred and mottled flesh. Sufferers call it Leopard Skin. Muni has it. There is nothing she can do to relieve her torment.

Then came the life-long blindness. In the midst of her unbearable pain, the parasites got into Muni’s eyes. They grew, gnawing on the nearest flesh - her optic nerves. That is how River Blindness worms steal sight. Muni will never see again.

“It started with watering eyes. Then my eyesight became blurred. Over time I could see less and less. For so many years now, I haven’t been able to see. Everything is black.”

People who are blind in New Zealand most often can live full lives, but being blind in a village like Muni’s leads only to extreme poverty.

“Before I became blind, I could care for myself. I worked hard. I could see everything and do everything. But now I can’t go to the market or the field or the river. I don’t go anywhere. I isolate myself from everyone.”

Her adult children try to help as much as they can, but they too are blinded by River Blindness! In an incredible feat of love for their mother, they cook her what little food they can grow. They wash her dishes, and struggle to fetch river water and firewood for their Mamma.

Poor Muni can’t help but grieve for all she has lost. “All my friends are dead. Many of them became blind like me. Even my husband lost his sight before he died. It’s a miserable life.”

Such sadness. So much generational pain, but thanks to generous people like you, younger eyes can be protected from the unbearable itching and sight-loss of River Blindness. They do not have leopard skin like their elders. Your gifts can help protect them and stop the cycle of parasites, unbearable pain and sight loss. Thank you.

Today, please help break the cycle of River Blindness. If the annual dose of parasite-killing medication doesn’t get through, young eyes will become as blind as Muni’s. Please prayerfully consider sending your gift today, to be multiplied x7, to protect children and adults from River Blindness.

Your gift is multiplied x7 to help protect children and adults from unbearable pain and life-long blindness.

See how you can help to bring hope, and a brighter future, to remote places like Muni’s village! Through your amazing generosity, younger generations are being spared the sadness that Muni has endured for so long. Please help protect children and adults from the unbearable itching and permanent sight loss caused by the River Blindness parasites. The power of your gift will be multiplied x7.

For half her life, Muni has known only unbearable itching, life-long blindness and deepest poverty. Please don’t let that happen to children in remote villages in Nigeria where the blackflies bite. They need their annual dose of parasite-killing medication! Please send your River Blindness gift today. Your kindness will be multiplied x7.