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Interactive timeline: 20 years in Ethiopia

We're celebrating 20 years of fighting blindness in Ethiopia. Take a moment to scroll through the highlights from this amazing milestone. A big thank you to all our wonderful staff, partners and volunteers, without whom, none of this would be possible.

20 years of impact

1998

We registered and established the Ethiopia office in Addis Ababa to manage year-round projects. It was our first in-country program office and has grown to over 60 staff who work tirelessly on 11 long-term projects across the country.

2002

The Pediatric Eye Health Center was opened in Menelik II Hospital in Addis Ababa. This was the first child-friendly facility in the country. Pediatric Eye Health Centers have also been opened in Hawasa and Gordor in 2012. We also started Trachoma Elimination work by implementing the WHO SAFE strategy at Gurage Zone, Enemore Enmer District in the SNNPR.

2003

The Flying Eye Hospital’s first project in Addis Ababa: during an advocacy tour with the plane. It has subsequently visited in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2018 to bolster sub-speciality training. We also opened Ethiopia's first Eye Bank, the only eye bank and tissue harvesting facility in sub-Saharan Africa. President Girma Woldegiorgis was the first Ethiopian to pledge his corneas.

2005

Alongside our partners we conducted the country’s first National Blindness and Low Vision Survey as an evidence-base for future work. We also established the country's first optometry training programs in Gondar and Hawassa. Prior to 2005, there were zero optometrists in country, and now there are over 230 professionals providing vital primary eye examinations and services.

2008

Orbis Ireland host their first group of fundraisers to take part in the Great Ethiopian Run. By 2018 the annual event has raised over $1.2 million for trachoma elimination in the SNNPR.

2012

Opened Pediatric Eye Health Centers in Hawassa and Gondor.

2013

Participated in the Global Trachoma Mapping Project by leading the baseline study in the SNNPR working in 136 districts and coordinating the partners in four regions. During the three year program 7 million doses of antibiotics were distributed and 13,305 people received trichiasis surgery.

2016

The Trachoma Impact Study across 21 districts found that trachoma had been eradicated in 14 districts with a prevalence of under five percent.

Going further

The journey continues to eradicate avoidable blindness with our supporters, staff and partners. Thanks for being part of the Orbis family and helping change the way the world sees.