Orbis celebrates 20 years of fighting blindness in Ethiopia

The eye health charity marks its anniversary of providing eye care

Orbis Ethiopia

Orbis marks its 20th year of fighting blindness in Ethiopia this year.

Since officially registering its Addis Ababa based office in 1998, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital has visited the country four times to help raise awareness of its work and the need for investment in eye care.

The Flying Eye Hospital is due to visit Ethiopia again in October for a three-week training programme around World Sight Day where it will help staff and partners shine a spotlight on the problems that the local population face in accessing eye care.

The charity’s work in the region has involved helping to implement the World Health Organization’s SAFE strategy in collaboration with partners such as the UK Department for International Development, international non-government organisations (NGO) and the Ministry of Health to eliminate trachoma, a disease that can lead to blindness.

Orbis Ethiopia

Orbis fights avoidable blindness through implementing long-term country programmes and building health systems to improve access to eye care, as well as training workers in all levels of the health system across the region.

In addition to distributing vital antibiotics to treat and prevent serious eye conditions, the charity focuses on educating communities about eye health and provides crucial eye health information through radio broad casts and educational materials.

While the company has experienced success during the past two decades, it faces the ongoing challenge of providing eye care to a growing population who are living with sight loss.

With 1.6 million people living with blindness and 3.5 million living with uncorrected low vision in Ethiopia Orbis is committed to continuing to generate awareness and provide eye care to people in the region.

Working closely with Orbis, local sponsors such as Ethiopian Airlines, NGO partners including Sightsavers and Vision Aid Overseas, and international funders such as Irish Aid, DFID and US Aid have all played a key role in training local teams and building the infrastructure required to deal with the eye care needs of Ethiopia’s growing population.

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