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 protect children and adults in Nigeria from the agony of River Blindness, so they can receive their annual dose of parasite-killing medicine!

Your gift will be multiplied x7.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” - Psalm 121:1-2

Each year, in remote places all over Nigeria, and across Africa, children and adults are waiting… looking to the hills and to the roads that lead into their villages.

They know help is coming… in the form of a tablet or two for each person, thanks to your kind generosity.

Delivered by cbm partners and field workers, this vital medication protects people from one of the most excruciating Neglected Tropical Diseases in the world – Onchocerciasis, commonly known as River Blindness.

Onchocerciasis is a parasitic infection - the infestation of teeming swarms of tiny worms - that leads to the total and irreversible black void of River Blindness.

Every day you can help protect children and adults from the agony and life-destroying sight loss of River Blindness.

Please help to ensure they get their annual medication, by sending your River Blindness gift today. The value and impact of your gift will be multiplied x7!!

As children stream out of their villages to greet the cbm field workers, they know they must receive their River Blindness medicine on time, or they could become like Akawu.

Akawu was once like them. Young and clear-eyed, flicking away the biting blackflies from the river. He was just a teenager, happy in his first job, building a road to the village.

Every day he was bitten by those blackflies. The bites injected the Onchocerciasis parasite into his bloodstream. They spread and bred into hundreds of thousands of swirling tiny worms.

The worms swarmed through his body, causing tremendous pain and terrible itching… then set to work destroying his eyesight forever.

Sadly, nothing can restore Akawu’s sight. He will be blind for the rest of his life. The nerves that send visual signals from his eyes have been severed forever by the parasites!

Today, you can help protect children and adults from the agony of River Blindness, by making sure they receive their annual dose of parasite-killing medication.

Please help support this vital year-on-year programme, by sending your River Blindness gift today so that the impact of your gift can be multiplied x7.

It’s sad that Akawu’s dreams are lost. He never expected his life to turn out this way.

As Akawu worked on the road, barely 17 years old, he began to feel a writhing sensation underneath his skin. A few weeks later, he found strange lumps on his body. These nodules were dense colonies of tiny worms.

That is a frightening stage of Onchocerciasis – but the next stage is far, far worse. Akawu began to experience the unbearable itching they call “Oncho”.

Back then, this endless misery was a mystery to this suffering teenage boy.

Today, young people in his village understand that this itching is caused by millions of parasites, coming to the end of their life cycle.

As the tiny worms die in huge numbers, they release toxins that provoke an intense an agonising allergic reaction.

The effects of this suffering, etched on people’s flesh, makes their arms and legs mottled with dark and pale patches. They call it Leopard Skin.

These patches are scars, the gruesome aftermath of people being in such distress, they attack their own flesh with blades, trying to dig out the parasites.

For Akawu, the fiery itching was unbelievably tormenting… but as with every stage of Onchocerciasis, what came next was even worse.

Akawu’s eyes began to fail. The eye is one of the parasites’ favourite places, full of nerves to gnaw on. They chewed all the way through Akawu’s optic nerves, cutting off his sight completely. I’m so sorry to say that his vision can never be restored.

“I became blind more than twenty years ago,” Akawu says. “I wish I could see, and work again. In the past, I was able to take care of myself. But now… there is no hope that I will see again.”

“I have to ask people to tell me the right vegetables to harvest, and not weed the wrong things. What I can harvest is never enough. I end up in the village centre, on market days, begging.”

With all his heart, Akawu just wants to be independent and productive. Not begging people for food. They respond with what they have, but in this village they don’t have much.

A person who is blind is quite a burden to a whole community in poverty – and there are many people like Akawu.

“There is nobody who can really support us and take care of the blind. We are suffering,” says Akawu.

But thanks to generous people like you, you can help make sure no-one suffers like Akawu, by making it possible for children and adults to receive their annual River Blindness medicine.

The medicine must arrive on time, as it only kills the parasites when the worms are young.

Please send your generous gift today, so cbm field workers can distribute the parasite-killing medicine to villages, where the blackflies are biting.

The medication itself is donated by a large pharmaceutical company. Your gift will help to get the medicine to the villages and create awareness of the dire 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 prayerfully considering sending your gift today, for seven times the power to protect people from the agony and life-destroying sight loss of River Blindness.

Your gift will help protect children and adults from the agony of parasitic pain and blindness, and be a shield against the suffering, poverty and permanent sight loss of River Blindness. You will help defend villages, like Akawu’s, against the unbearable itching and life-long blindness of the River Blindness infection.

Thank you so much for selflessly supporting this wonderful sight-protecting mission. Because of you, blind people, like Akawu, are becoming a much less common sight in Africa…

…but the parasites do not rest. The annual dose of medication must get through on time. Thank you for helping to make sure cbm partners and field workers can distribute this vital medicine to stop the spread of River Blindness.

When Akawu was just a boy, there was no-one like you to protect him from River Blindness – so he has suffered for more than 20 years and is forever blind. Today, your generosity can help protect children and adults from the agony and life-destroying sight loss of River Blindness. Your generous gift will be multiplied x7, so people in Nigeria can receive their annual dose of parasite killing medication. Thank you for your kind and caring heart.