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When Patrice Messolo was a boy, his grandfather and uncle became very sick. They both lost their vision and developed skin lesions on their legs due to what Patrice would later learn was onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. Without treatment, this neglected tropical disease can cause disfiguring skin conditions and permanent blindness.  

Seeing what happened to his grandfather and uncle inspired Patrice to become a community drug distributor. With training and support from Helen Keller Intl, he and his fellow community health heroes provide an annual dose of preventive medication to everyone in their communities in Cameroon to treat existing cases of onchocerciasis and curb its spread. Patrice shared his story with us. 

Helen Keller Intl leads USAID’s Act to End Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) | West Program in Cameroon, supported by consortium leader FHI 360. 

An older Cameroonian woman and man sit with a younger boy.

Help community health heroes, like Patrice, provide vital care to their communities.