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.

Success in Ethiopia

Launched in 1998 as our first country office, Orbis Ethiopia has been driving substantial progress in eye health for more than 18 years. Projects have covered a broad range of areas, including establishing an eye care system in rural southern Ethiopia, launching Ethiopia’s first pediatric eye clinic and its first pediatric ophthalmology unit, as well as opening the Eye Bank of Ethiopia (EBE).  Our work has focused on:

  • building capacity, human resources and infrastructure
  • conducting and publishing research
  • raising community awareness, and 
  • providing resources and tools.

Aylito gets her sight back

June 16, 2017

Aylito lives in Ethiopia and has been blind in one eye since the age of six. She suffered from trichiasis, a painful eye condition, that threatened sight in her other eye.
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We’ve trained more than 10,000 eye care professionals through our partnerships with hospitals and academic institutions, strengthening their capabilities in teaching, research and providing services. As part of our work, we helped establish services in eye specialties that previously weren’t available in the country, such as pediatric ophthalmology and glaucoma. 

Thanks to your support we have helped treat more than 15 million people  with 28 million doses of zithromax in the fight against trachoma. 

We have increased the number of trained ophthalmologists from 76 to 120, the number of cataract surgeons from 3 to 48 and the number of optometrists from 0 to 123. 

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 people are appropriately treated at the right level of the healthcare system to maximise their recovery ensure follow-up services are available.

What we're doing next

With your continued support, we can implement a model for comprehensive rural eye care that addresses critical gaps through capacity building, healthcare technology and advocacy. We will train more community health care workers in all aspects of eye care, from awareness of services, identification, diagnosis, referral and treatment.

Ajebush's teacher helps her see clearly

June 22, 2017

Thanks to your support and the help of Orbis's community outreach programs, Ajebush is now excelling at school in the Doyogena District of Ethiopia - but this wasn't always the case.
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We will look to face the enormous challenge of trachoma in Ethiopia by implementing the World Health Organization’s SAFE strategy (eyelid surgery, antibiotics, face cleanliness and environmental improvement). We will continue to help 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 long standing 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 all levels. 

Can you help us eliminate trachoma in Ethiopia?

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  • Federal Ministry of Health
  • The Charities and Societies Agency
  • Regional Health, Education, Finance and Economic Development Bureau
  • District level sector offices
  • ICTC
  • NCBP