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


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Hauwa & Danjuma

See the difference between Hauwa and Danjuma's eyes!

Please help to protect children like Danjuma from the devastating effects of River Blindness.
Your gift will be multiplied x7!

“…invite the poor, the maimed, the disabled, the blind, and you will be blessed...” – Jesus, Luke 14:13-14

Jesus’ words in Luke 14 are calling us to seek out and include those who are less fortunate, and as a valued cbm supporter, your loving kindness is doing just this!

In the scripture above, Jesus is speaking about forgotten and rejected people – like those suffering from Neglected Tropical Diseases – NTDs, like River Blindness.

Today, your gift can help protect children like Danjuma from the devastating effects of River Blindness, so their eyes and their future are brighter.

See the powerful difference people like you are making in this photo of Hauwa and her 9-year-old nephew Danjuma

Hauwa’s eyes are forever blind, but Danjuma’s eyes are safe and bright. So is his future. It is your caring heart that can help protect children like Danjuma from River Blindness.

Today, please send your gift to keep children like Danjuma safe from Neglected Tropical Diseases. Your gift will be multiplied x7 giving eye-protecting power to save sight!

The names of other NTDs are frightening… and also forgotten. Large sections of humanity were once enslaved by the suffering and fear of diseases like Dracunculiasis, Yaws, and Buruli Ulcer. Trachoma is greatly reduced because of the generosity of cbm supporters like you.

River Blindness’s technical name is Onchocerciasis, and is caused by being bitten by the black river flies that infest sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 99% of River Blindness occurs. Through your gift today, you can become one of the few people in the world who are working to eliminate this Neglected Tropical Disease.

No-one knew how to protect Hauwa as a little girl in the 1970’s, playing on the banks of Nigeria’s Taraba River. River Blindness was rife in her village, but people didn’t know it was caused by the biting black flies on the river.

Hauwa didn’t realise that the flies were injecting tiny parasitic worms into her body.

The worms grew inside her, breeding by hundreds of thousands. Causing unbearable irritation.

“Everything started with severe itching and rashes all over my body,” she remembers. “It was severe! I tried to get relief by scratching myself.”

The itching phase of River Blindness gets so bad that desperate sufferers hack at their flesh with hooks and blades. This causes tell-tale scarring called “Leopard Skin”.

Thanks to people like you, less young Africans have Leopard Skin today. They are free from suffering and free from blindness, because every year kind people make sure they get their dose of worm-killing tablets.

This worm-killer – Mectizan – is donated by its maker, Merck, but the cost of distributing the tablets to villages like Hauwa’s is paid for by gifts like yours.

To distribute $6 of Mectizan tablets costs just $1. That’s $7 of protection for every $1 you give. Your River Blindness impact will be multiplied x7!!

Hauwa never had the chance to take Mectizan. Along with the itching and scratching, the Onchocerciasis worms burrowed their way into her eyes.

Her eyes began itching and burning. They turned red and teary. The parasites gnawed away at Hauwa’s optic nerve. When Hauwa was still too young to go to school, her sight began to fail.

“I became blind at such an early age, I never went to school.”

She could no longer play with her friends. She couldn’t help with chores. She wasn’t safe around the cooking fire.

Before Hauwa was ten years old, her sight was completely gone, forever.

“My eyes are just blank. There is nothing. No light nor shade. No colours. I don’t know if it’s day or night.”

She fell in love with a gentle man and together they had children, but her husband died without Hauwa ever seeing his face. She has never seen her children. That hurts her so much.

Hauwa lives in the most appalling poverty. “I have no money. I used to beg on the main road, but they built a new road, which is too far away. I’m dependent on neighbours and family.”

In the poorest places in the world, one person’s disability makes life even more difficult for their loved ones.

For Hauwa’s nephew, Danjuma, this means devoting hours to taking care of his aunt.

When other children are doing school homework, Danjuma is guiding Hauwa around the village – keeping her safe from poisonous snakes and bumpy ground. This is how he shows his love and respect for his aunt.

When others are playing football, Danjuma is at the borehole, making sure Hauwa has enough water, bringing her meals or just keeping her company.

Danjuma is Hauwa’s eyes. “I like helping my aunt,” he says. “It makes me sad that she cannot see.”

Hauwa’s sight is sadly gone forever. But together we can prevent that happening to children like Danjuma. There is no vaccine for River Blindness, so it is absolutely essential that they receive their Mectizan tablets in time, every single year.

Please help protect children and adults in the world’s poorest places from River Blindness, your gift will be multiplied x7!

Your gift will help protect children like Danjuma from the torture of parasitic pain, and the eventual blindness caused by River Blindness. It will help protect families like Hauwa’s from the suffering, poverty and permanent sight loss for the world’s poorest people.

Hauwa dreads what could happen without the loving kindness of generous people like you. “I fear that my children, grandchildren, my siblings or my little nephew will catch the disease and go blind.”

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are at risk from NTDs like River Blindness – but they are the very people Jesus asked us to remember in Luke 14.

Please send your loving gift for River Blindness today. Your support will make such a difference – you can see this in the photo of Hauwa and Danjuma. Because of selfless love like yours, the eye’s of children like Danjuma will be brighter.

Please help to eliminate River Blindness in the world’s poorest places. Your support for children like Danjuma, to receive Mectizan tablets on time, will protect them from the gnawing River Blindness parasites, and give them a brighter future. Your gift today will be multiplied x7.

Thank you!