Celebrating a year of QFFD support in Ethiopia

Since April 2022, thanks to the Qatar Fund for Development’s (QFFD) critical support, Orbis has been tackling trachoma and other eye conditions alongside our local partners in Gedeo, Amaro and Burji in Ethiopia. This is part of the Qatar Creating Vision initiate, funded by QFFD and implemented by Orbis.

The project is working to address the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, trachoma, whilst delivering comprehensive eye care services, including screenings, distributing antibiotics, providing spectacles, and conducting surgeries, to communities.

Trachoma is a painful bacterial eye infection, for which the burden remains high in rural Ethiopia as medical support can be hard to reach.

Repeat trachoma infections can lead to Trachoma Trichiasis (TT), an even more painful condition in which scarring causes the eyelid to turn in on itself and the eyelashes to scratch the eye, resulting in permanent vision loss if treatment isn’t provided in time.

The support of the Qatar Fund for Development is helping Orbis and our local partners, to stop this terrible disease in its tracks.

Trachoma is highly contagious, but it is easily preventable and treatable through the World Health organisation’s SAFE strategy:

  • Surgery – supporting patients with TT to ensure there is no further damage to their eye-sight.
  • Antibiotics – by delivering mass drug administrations to communities through door to door activity, trachoma can be prevented, and any active infections or other eye conditions can be found and treated.
  • Facial Cleanliness and Environmental improvements – Access to clean water and good toilets is also a vital part of tackling the spread of this infection, as too is behaviour change. Orbis is working to educate communities, through school activities, radio announcements and with health extension workers, on the importance of face washing and sanitation.

To ensure the necessary human resources are in place, the programme is also focusing on the training of eye health personnel to identify and undertake surgery on those with blinding trachoma.

Sustainable Development Goals

Orbis is part of the global effort to work towards the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for creating a better world by 2030. The Qatar Fund for Development works to deliver on Qatar’s international commitments by supporting the achievement of these goals.

Many of the SDGs drive the creation of effective eye health programmes to support communities and growth, these include:

Poverty: 90% of sight loss occurs in low- and middle-income countries where eye care can be hard to reach. Untreated vision loss can hinder educations and livelihoods. By creating and providing quick access to effective eye health facilities, the futures of adults and children are not impacted by preventable and treatable conditions.

Good Health and Wellbeing: Unmanaged eye health is inextricably linked to increase mortality, lower levels of well-being, and higher rates of depression.

Good education: Children with vision impairment have poorer educational outcomes and are more likely to be excluded from schools. In addition, children may also be called upon to look after a relative with sight loss. Access to eye health helps to prevent all of these outcomes.

Gender Equality: Women have worse access to eye health services and when it comes to Trachoma, the condition is far more prevalent in women than men, with women accounting for 70% of cases.

Clean Water and Sanitation: The ability to wash your face with clean water and access good toilets plays a vital role in the work to eliminate trachoma. Education to change behaviour also plays a vital role when facilities are created for communities.

Reduced inequalities: Women, people with disabilities, indigenous people, refugees, and migrants are those most affected by poor eye health. Creating inclusive services are vital.

Partnership for the Goals: The Goals cannot be delivered without partnership with a broad range of coalitions and work with leading organisations, including the eye health sector.

Partnership - Thank You

The support of the Qatar Fund for Development is vital to increasing our ability to bring eye care closer to home for those who need it most. Qatar Creating has already impacted millions of lives.

Through the initiative between 2016 and 2020 across India and Bangladesh, alongside our partners we were able to provide more than 6.7 million eye tests and treatments, mainly to children.

There is so much more to achieve and we are grateful for QFFD's dedication to addressing the issue of avoidable vision loss.

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