Ethiopia

More than one million Ethiopians are blind, and close to three million have low vision.

Facing the Challenge

The country also has a high prevalence of trachoma — a highly contagious and completely preventable eye disease that can result in blindness after years of repeated infection.

Our Response

• We are implementing a model for comprehensive rural eye care to address critical gaps.

• We’re training community and healthcare workers in all aspects of eye care, from awareness of services, identification, diagnosis, referral and treatment.

• We’re addressing the enormous challenge of trachoma in Ethiopia by implementing the World Health Organisation’s SAFE strategy (eyelid surgery, antibiotics, face cleanliness and environmental improvement).

• We’re helping to reduce the risk of trachoma by training nurses to perform trichiasis surgeries at primary healthcare units and building awareness.

Our Presence

We have a longstanding partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, through which we work to develop and strengthen the capacity of existing government health providers to deliver eye-care services at the primary, secondary and tertiary level.

Together, we are building effective referral networks to ensure that people are appropriately treated and and that follow-up services are available.

Successes

• More than 15 million people have been treated with more than 28 million doses of Zithromax in the fight against trachoma.

• We supported the development of Ethiopia’s first paediatric ophthalmology clinic and its first eye bank.

• With the help of our local partners, the number of Ethiopia’s ophthalmologists has increased from 76 to 120.

• The number of cataract surgeons has increased from 3 to 48, and the number of optometrists from zero to 123.

• Seven Optical Workshops were established in Hawassa, Gondar.