Celebrating 20 years of fighting blindness in Ethiopia

July 2018

Orbis UK is proud to announce a huge milestone – Orbis has been fighting blindness in Ethiopia for 20 years. Orbis's Addis Ababa office was officially registered in 1998 and became the very first programme office outside the United States.

20 years in Ethiopia logo

Orbis's hardworking and dedicated team in Ethiopia currently runs our largest portfolio of comprehensive eye care programmes, including training, governance and health system strengthening in both urban hospitals and rural eye care clinics.

In those 20 years, the Flying Eye Hospital has visited Ethiopia four times to help raise awareness of Orbis's work and the need for investment in eye care.

The Flying Eye Hospital will visit again in October 2018 for a three-week training programme focused on World Sight Day, helping staff and partners shine a spotlight on Ethiopia and the problems that the local population face accessing eye care.

While Orbis has had a host of successes over the last 20 years, the Ethiopian population has nearly doubled in that time, from 65 million in 1998 to 105 million in 2018.

The World Health Organisation estimates 1.6 million people are living with blindness in Ethiopia and 3.5 million are living with uncorrected low vision.

Even more alarmingly, 87% of blindness and 91% of low vision in Ethiopia is completely avoidable, which is much higher than the global average (75%).

Ethiopian children.

In Ethiopia, 1.6 million people live with blindness and 3.5 million live with uncorrected low vision

While there's plenty more to do, Orbis has a lot to celebrate. Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing stories of some of the successes and the partners who have made it all possible.

You'll hear inspiring stories from our partners, who have done so much to help build the foundations for a brighter future, including key players such as the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and Ethiopia Ophthalmology Society, who have been so vital to our work.

46000 people start the Great Ethiopian Run, with 73 Orbis Ireland participants in the middle

Can you spot them? 73 Orbis Ireland runners took part in the Great Ethiopian Run back in 2008!

Local sponsors such as Ethiopian Airlines, NGO partners such as 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.

We'll post more news on events and activities surrounding the 20th anniversary over the next few months, as well as a full list of all those involved.

For now we would like to take the opportunity to thank all our supporters, staff, volunteers and partners who have made the last 20 years so worthwhile for Ethiopia and its people.

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