More than one million Ethiopians are blind, and close to three million have low vision. 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. With these challenges, Ethiopia faces immense difficulties to meet the healthcare needs of its population, particularly in rural areas.
• We are implementing a model for comprehensive rural eye care to address critical gaps through capacity building, healthcare technology development and advocacy.
• Orbis Africa is training both 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 by teaching community health workers, teachers, local women’s group leaders and community leaders about eye health.
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 between primary, secondary and tertiary services to ensure that people are appropriately treated at the right level of the healthcare system to maximise their potential visual recovery, and ensure that follow-up services are available.
SUCCESS IN ETHOPIA
• 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.
• Orbis Africa increased the number of Ethiopia’s ophthalmologists from 76 to 120 with the help of our local partners.
• We also helped increase the number of cataract surgeons from 3 to 48, and the number of optometrists from zero to 123.
• Seven Optical Workshops were established in Hawassa, Gondar.
Read our latest success story from Ethiopia here: Building Eye Care Capacity in Gondar, Ethiopia.
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