Women Working to Change Attitudes In Ethiopia

Azeb is a government Health Extension Worker who has been trained by Orbis in eye care. As part of her role she visits houses to advise on hygiene and sanitation issues as well as maternal health, and vaccinations etc.

Her personal mission is to keep sanitation at a high standard in society and this is what motivates her.

She believes the SAFE strategy actions and implementation in the Dokotu kabele (village) are helping to decrease trachoma. Orbis has been implementing the World Health Organisation’s SAFE strategy across this region of over 2 million people since 2007.

Before becoming an HEW Azeb was a student, she was interested in health and went on to HEW training. Orbis trained her about eyes and the SAFE strategy and now she can inform people about this aspect of health care too and refer them to the IECW who will come to the village when patients need them. She knows everyone in the village and keeps a register of all inhabitants, and births and deaths.

The area that Azeb covers includes a population of 1,330 people. She has been stationed in Dokotu so she lives there, works there and distributes medicine from her health post there. Over her three years in Dokotu, she has seen an improvement in the understanding of better health and hygiene.

Azeb says her main challenges are changing attitudes towards medicine and there is a great shortage of water so improving sanitation is hard. It takes about two hours round trip to get water.

She sees that being blind in a rural village like Dokotu is a hard life. As a farming village they lose their livelihood. They have to be lead by stick by a member of their family and have help with washing etc. There is a lady who has gone blind from trachoma before Orbis came and now her older children have to help her with her young ones and they have to go to work and look after their home. It is a real disadvantage.


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