UK Government closes UK Aid Direct Fund leaving unfinished work in Gedeo, Amaro and Burji

September 2021

From 2018-2021 Orbis UK’s work in Gedeo, Amaro and Burji in southern Ethiopia was supported by a UK Aid Direct grant from the UK government. The grant enabled us to extend our sight-saving work in Ethiopia, where around four million people are visually impaired.

Unfortunately in July 2021 the UK government closed the entire UK Aid Direct fund, leaving unfinished work in Gedeo, Amaro and Burji.

We received nearly £1 million from the UK Aid Direct fund. The fund required us to provide match funding, which our generous supporters made possible to the tune of £600,000.

Over three years the grant helped us to establish vital eye health services in the Gedeo, Amaro and Burji areas of southern Ethiopia, expanding our reach so that more eye care workers were trained and more people with avoidable blinding conditions treated.

A child in Ethiopia receiving treatment to protect them from trachoma

Most of the 1.3 million people in Gedeo, Amaro and Burji live in rural areas. Infrastructure is limited, and there is restricted access to basic healthcare services. When we began working there in 2018, there were no established eye health services at all. People with eye conditions had to travel, often long distances, for treatment – or face becoming unnecessarily blind.

Since 2018 we have made steady progress in addressing the three leading causes of blindness and visual impairment – cataract, refractive error and blinding trachoma. Trachoma is an infection which, if untreated, can lead to trichiasis, a painful condition in which the eyelids turn inwards so the lashes scrape the cornea, resulting in blindness. This disease disproportionately affects women and children.

With your help, since 2018 Orbis has:

With your support and that of UK Aid Direct, fewer people in Gedeo, Amaro and Burji are now living with unnecessary blindness. However, there is more to do. Trachoma continues to cause unnecessary blindness and there are many more adults who need cataract surgery and school children who need glasses. That’s why we are using money contributed by our supporters to fund the project until the original planned end date in 2023.

You can help continue this sight-saving work in Ethiopia

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