Ethiopia, with a population of 105 million people has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 1.6 percent. The estimated overall burden of blindness in Ethiopia includes 1.6 million blind people and 3.6 million people with low vision, with cataract as the most common cause of both. There are approximately 130 ophthalmologists in Ethiopia, with the majority in the capital city of Addis Ababa.
HCP’s first partnership in Ethiopia developed in 2008 with Dr. Tilahun Kiros, head ophthalmologist of the Quiha Zonal Hospital in Mekelle during cataract campaigns with the Millennium Villages Project and Quiha Zonal Hospital that provided 630 surgeries.
In 2014, HCP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health to reduce the backlog of treatable blindness in Ethiopia by doubling the number of cataract surgeries performed in the country.
Today, HCP works with ophthalmic staff at 19 zonal hospitals, teaching hospitals and clinics in five regions of Ethiopia. Leveraging the strengths of all of our partners has allowed us to develop a robust eye care delivery system that is making great strides in reducing avoidable blindness in Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia, HCP provides:
- Direct Service: HCP is reducing the backlog of cataract blindness by working with 19 partners to conduct outreach programs that target remote rural areas and provide field-based training opportunities. Since 2008, HCP has directly supported 146 high-volume cataract campaigns resulting in 74,622 cataract surgeries.
- Training: HCP continues to increase utilization of eye care services by building a network of skilled, dedicated eye care professionals providing accessible, high-quality cataract and ophthalmic care. Since 2008, HCP has provided 478 training opportunities to ophthalmic personnel working at all levels of eye care.
- Infrastructure: HCP is making tremendous strides in developing a sustainable eye care infrastructure in Ethiopia by supporting the development and equipping of eye care facilities, and promoting the development of local centers of eye care excellence.
How so many lives can be changed:
Dr. Matt Oliva and a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, and ophthalmic assistants from Harar, Ethiopia, provide life-changing surgeries. With the tremendous support of the hard-working team in Harar, Dr. Oliva alongside local surgeons performed 1336 cataract surgeries over the course of a week.