Cataract patient Aylito, Ethiopia

Our Work in Ethiopia | Orbis

Last year we celebrated an amazing 20 years of fighting blindness in Ethiopia. The Addis Ababa office, registered in 1998, was our very first program office and currently manages our largest portfolio of comprehensive eye care programs; including training, governance and health system strengthening in urban hospitals to rural eye care clinics.

The Problem

When we started working in Ethiopia in 1998 the population was around 65 million. Two decades later it has nearly doubled to 107 million. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 1.8 million or 1.6% of the Ethiopian population is blind and 4.1 million or 3.7% live with low vision. This falls significantly above the world average of 1.2% and 3.4% respectively.

Success in Ethiopia

In 1998 the country had just 54 ophthalmologists, 42 of whom practiced in Addis Ababa (the capital city). There are now 140 ophthalmologists.

We have played a leading role in developing 266 primary eye care units, 10 secondary eye care units, 3 pediatric eye care centers and 6 optical workshops.

We've delivered more than 2.25 million eye screenings and examinations and nearly 25 million medical treatments including around 170,000 surgeries for adults and 6000 for children.

In 2019 alone, we delivered:

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 and health-care workers in all aspects of eye care, from awareness of services, identification, diagnosis, referral and treatment.

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.


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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
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