Expanding the Reaching the Last Mile Fund: a game-changer for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis | Blogs

The actual situation

River blindness and FL are debilitating diseases that can leave people unable to work, study or support their families, leading to poverty and stigma.

In 2022, 288 million people were at risk of LF, a disease that causes parts of the body to swell and causes intermittent fevers and secondary infections. Meanwhile, at least 246 million people are at risk of river blindness, which causes agonizing itching and disfiguring skin conditions, and can lead to permanent blindness.

But there has been progress. Concerted global efforts to track these diseases and decades persistently dedicated to following the strategies recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) mean that 19 countries have now eliminated FL as a public health problem and four have stopped transmission of the disease. river blindness. In the Americas, river blindness has been eliminated in Colombia (2013), Ecuador (2014), Mexico (2015), and Guatemala (2016). We are learning and applying the knowledge gained from these success stories.

Many people and organizations have supported this progress: from the pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co and GlaxoSmithKline, which have donated millions of doses of medicine, to the health workers and volunteers on the ground who distribute the medicines in local communities to the that serve.

To date, Sightsavers has supported more than 640 million treatments for river blindness and 587 million treatments for FL. From 2022, we estimate that more than 18.9 million people are no longer at risk of river blindness and LF due to treatments supported by Sightsavers. The expansion of the RLM Fund means that many more people will be protected from these diseases.

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