Sightsavers — Deworming programme


Deworming Program

Sightsavers works on a range of programmes to prevent blindness, advocate for disability rights, and fight neglected tropical diseases. It improves children’s lives and future prospects by treating two neglected tropical diseases — schistosomiasis and intestinal worms — with an intervention sometimes known as “deworming.”

What problem is Sightsavers’ deworming programme working on?

Schistosomiasis and intestinal worms are two parasitic diseases found mainly in tropical and subtropical climates — particularly in poor communities without access to safe drinking water and sanitation — that have a detrimental impact on children’s nutrition, health, and education.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.5 billion people worldwide are infected with intestinal worms, and 600 million school-aged children live in at-risk areas. Intestinal worms can cause a variety of health problems, including nutritional issues and problems with cognitive and physical development.

Schistosomiasis affects 240 million people worldwide, with more than 700 million people living in endemic areas. Schistosomiasis can “lead to serious long-term problems affecting the digestive, urinary, respiratory and nervous systems.” It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people die from schistosomiasis every year.

Both diseases can also affect social and economic outcomes, like employment and school attendance.

What does Sightsavers’ deworming programme do?

As part of its deworming programme, Sightsavers:

Sightsavers reports that in the last project year (2021 to 2022), it treated more than 5.6 million children for schistosomiasis and/or intestinal worms.

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of Sightsavers’ deworming programme?1.

We previously included Sightsavers’ deworming programme as one of our recommended charities based on Founders Pledge’s recommendation. This recommendation was made on the basis of their internal evaluation of Sightsavers in 2023. Some other information relevant to Sightsavers’ cost-effectiveness is:

We’ve since updated our recommendations to reflect only organisations recommended by evaluators we’ve looked into as part of our 2023 evaluator investigations; while we expect to soon look into Founders Pledge as part of this more in-depth evaluator research, we haven’t yet. As such, we don't currently include Sightsavers’ deworming programme as one of our recommended programs but you can still donate to it via our donation platform.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities. Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.